2007-02-12: Truth At Tabla


Jack_icon.gif Eliana_icon.gif


At the Tabla over crab cakes, lamb, and scallops, Eliana and Jack come to share their most guarded secret.

Date It Happened: February 12th, 2007

Truth at Tabla

Tabla, Uptown

In the wide, high-ceilinged entryway of the restaurant, Jack stands to the side of a low podium, conversing with the maitre'd in hushed tones. He's dressed in a dapper, charcoal grey suit with a light grey pinstripe and a collarless white shirt beneath. He gestures toward a small table in a semi-circular, candlelit alcove and his voice begins to rise slightly in timbre. A moment later the maitre'd nods concedingly and makes a few marks on a notepad.

Normally, Eliana would make a point to be on right on time, but dinner dates aren't like magazine deadlines. The writer can afford to be fashionably late this time. Despite the cold, Eliana's charcoal peacoat hangs open as she steps out of the cab that pulls up in front of Talba. It flaps at her legs as she walks into the restaurant, her black heels clicking on the pavement. Underneath the coat, the pink-haired woman wears a somewhat low-cut, simple black dress that hugs her hips and hangs to her mid-calf. Silver teardrops dangle from her ears, and a matching bit of metal sits just below the 'u' of her collarbone on a simple, thin chain. Once she's inside, it doesn't take Eliana long to find Jack, and her softly glossed lips pull into a gentle smile before she starts over to him, clutching a thin black handbag in one hand.

Jack chuckles at his tiny triumph over the maitre'd, who responds with an exaggerated roll of his eyes. Jack turns just in time to see Eliana walk in and returns her smile with one of his own. "You look positively smashing. Good enough I won't even comment on your lateness." He winks roguishly, then scoops up one of Eliana's hands and bends to press a light kiss against it. Meanwhile, the impatient maitre'd taps his foot, arms crossed over his chest and menus in hand. Jack shoots him a quick look, then tosses his head in the direction of the alcove, which is visible from the door. "Shall we? I believe our escort is ready to be done with us."

"I only dressed to match you," Eliana says with a growing grin and a slight blush when her hand is kissed, and she's more than happy to leave her hand in Jack's when it appears they'll be seated soon. She does let go when one of the hosts comes to take her coat, which she relinquishes with a polite smile. "It would be rude to keep him waiting," she whispers to Jack, narrowing her eyes with a bit of mischief.

"Bah. If I wasn't on the wrong side of starving I'd let him sit. Some people just don't know how to repay a favor." Jack grins wider as he speaks more than loud enough for the maitre'd to hear. The man clears his throat and reddens, but is now statue-still otherwise. "Ahh, calm down Danny," Jack muses, and claps the man on the shoulder. "And relax, else you'll break something." Laughing now, he takes Eliana's hand once again and leads her to the table himself.

But Eliana seems a little uneasy about the stiffness on the maitre'd's end of things, and she offers him an apologetic smile when they pass him on the way to the table. Eliana allows Jack to pull out her chair, but she doesn't necessarily wait for him to do it if it doesn't seem likely. Once she's seated, she slips her pocketbook easily under one leg before she crosses her ankles, folding her hands in her lap and looking around the room. It's been a long time since she's been in a place as nice as this. "Beautiful," she utters under her breath out of sheer awe. Coming to her senses, Eliana sets her eyes on Jack again, her smile automatically widening. "Don't ruin your favor before it's done being given," she warns warmly.

Jack nods knowingly. "Good advice, that," he rumbles, and turns to the maitre'd. "Sorry, Dan. Bring us a bottle of the '78 Moet & Chandon, would you? And an order of crab cakes. You have to try the crab cakes." He turns his attention back to Eliana. "The lamb is beautiful here as well, and the scallops."

"I trust you," Eliana chuckles out. She had no intention of ordering herself - not when Jack has obviously been here before. "You must have some eclectic friends, Jack. But I imagine someone like you knows all sorts."

"Round round, get around, I get around," Jack quotes, then turns back to Danny. "Two orders of the lamb and scallops for the second course, and a bottle of '69 Wiederkehr Cabernet Sauvignon." The maitre'd nods, somewhat mollified by the earlier apologies, and scurries away to fill the order. Mere moments later the champagne arrives in a silver ice bucket with two crystal glasses. Jack doesn't take his eyes off of Eliana as it's opened and poured, nor as he lifts his glass. "To pleasant company, yes?"

"Of all sorts," Eliana adds with a lift of her eyebrows and a pull at her lips toward a wider smile before she taps her lifted glass against Jack's and sips from it. She lets her eyes close when she drinks, but before that, like him, she doesn't let them leave his. Eliana sets her glass back down with care, still relishing the taste of the bubbly drink. When she opens her eyes, they go to Jack's like magnets. "So," she says with a brighter smile, "are you going to tell me where you're performing next, or will I have to do the legwork to solve that little mystery myself?"

Jack takes a long drink from his own glass and sets it down on the table with a soft chime, then shrugs. "To tell the truth, I'm between venues at the moment. If you can believe it, I'm mostly doing birthday parties and the like for the next few days. Not that I mind. Children are easier to please and much freer with praise." He reaches out again as he speaks, one fingertip trailing a lazy line along the inside of Eliana's wrist. "But you have my word that I'll let you know next time I'm doing something public."

Eliana had promised herself that she'd keep her heartbeat under control tonight, so that Jack could be around her without the influence of her darker secrets. But with touches like that, the pink-haired journalist is having a hard time of it, as evident in her pinkening face. "That'd be wonderful, thank you," she says in a softer voice, extending her fingers to brush along the side of Jack's hand.
Jack lets out a soft chuckle when Eliana blushes, and reaches up with his free hand to brush back a lock of her hair. "Turns out red's just as good a color for you as pink. You're beautiful when you're embarrassed." He bites his lower lip briefly, a sign of nervousness, perhaps? Then it's gone and he's smiling once again.

Eliana chuckles a little, dipping her head to avert her eyes from Jack's in order to compose herself and perhaps to lean the slightest bit into his hand near her face. "Please don't take that as license to keep doing it?" she asks as she lifts her eyes once more to his. Please? But she saw that lip-bite, and is comforted by the fact that Jack's not quite in his element either. She clears her throat as demurely as possible, then shakes her head a bit to clear her thoughts before she speaks again. "When did you get into the magic business?" History would be nice.

"Me? Just a few months ago, when I got to the city. I always had a knack for making things appear, though." Jack pauses and blinks thoughtfully several times, then cups his hand against Eliana's cheek, spreading his fingers to better appreciate the smoothness of her skin. Again, he nibbles at his lower lip. Mercifully, the crab cakes arrive, saving him for the moment. The server lays down the china plate with it's bed of microgreens tosses in spicy pepper sauce and the two plump, steaming cakes, then quickly refills the champagne glasses.

Being a woman who makes her living with words, the odd phrasing causes Eliana to quirk an eyebrow. "Really?" she asks as she reaches for her napkin and slips it into her lap, glancing to the crab cakes only briefly before her interested gaze settles back on Jack.

Despite his earlier proclamation about the food's tastiness, Jack doesn't so much as peek at the food. Instead he takes his hand from Eliana's face and downs the contents of his glass as if it were a medicinal draft. A little red-faced, he lifts his eyes back to ELi's. "Ahem. Yeah. Sleight of hand and all. Always took my interest."

Eliana lifts her own glass to take a second sip, her eyes glinting with newly inspired mischief as she watches Jack over the edge of the flute/ "Is that where the gambling came in?" she asks with a searching, but playful tone. It's nice to see the tables turned so quickly, but when Eliana sets her glass down again, she lowers her eyes and shakes her head. "Sorry, I'm probing too deep for a third date."

Believe it or not, this is more comfortable territory for Jack. "Nah, it's fine. That's more or less where it all began," he admits somewhat ruefully. "I've never been one to stay /entirely/ on the straight and narrow." He shrugs his broad shoulders and reaches out to pour himself another glass of champagne, clearly unapologetic but also somewhat defensive, awaiting the inevitable negative reaction. Big surprise, he now finds the crab cakes most interesting to study, though he still hasn't touched them.

Eliana had been waiting for Jack to dig in, but now she tentatively takes a fork in her fingers in order to sample the crab. "How many straight-and-narrow goers have ever lived full and interesting lives?" she offers before she takes a bite, and then her voice comes out in a pleased hum. They /are/ delicious. One more reason to never go kosher.

Jack lets out a long, sighing breath. The suave, smooth-talking Irishman is fading into the background and the more vulnerable portions of his self are peeping out. He drags one long-fingered hand through his dark hair and lets out a low rumble, somewhere between another sigh and a purr. "I suppose you're right," he finally responds. "Still, I'd give my left - err - big toe to be one of those goers. Sometimes we don't pick our path, our path picks us." A ghost of his previous smile flits across Jack's face, then he picks up his own fork and digs out a bite of crab and greens.

"Eliana tilts her head to one side, letting her fork half-dangle from her fingers. "Why would you say that? Some of those goers would damn you to hell for your chosen vocation. Don't buy into their game." And now Eliana is narrowing her eyes. "I'm not a fatalist. You /do/ have choices. So long as you don't do anything to excess, I don't see what the problem is." Once she's said her piece, Eliana takes a bit more crab cake in addition to some greens this time.

Jack toys with his fork for a bit before replying. "Aye. There's never a situation where you have no choice, but many where none of the choices are good ones." He shakes his head then, breaking himself free from his pondering. "A thousand apologies. Here I am in a beautiful restaurant with a beautiful woman, and I'm actin' like a stormcloud."

Eliana laughs a bit, shaking her head to reassure Jack. "No, it's okay. Nobody can control the weather." But Eliana's thoughts jump back to that book Sydney had, and her smile falters for a split second. "We chose what we think is best, in any situation," she says with a softer, more solemn sort of smile.

Jack smiles in return and digs out another large bite. He chews slowly, enjoy the sensuous combination of textures and flavors. When he finishes the bite he seems much more relaxed. "You're right, m'lass," he replies. "I once heard that losers whine about their best, but that's really all we can do, yes?"

"Yes," Eliana affirms with a nod, her smile widening as she goes for another sip of her champagne. "When you fall off the horse, you get back on again and keep riding."

Jack rolls his shoulders briefly, working off the last of his self-imposed tension. He smiles back warmly, feeling comfortable once again. Around that time the second course arrives on large, diamond-shaped plates. He takes a long, appreciative whiff as the lamb and scallops are set on the table. Paired with a creamy risotto and a mango-pineapple salsa, each dish is beautiful in appearance and carries an inviting scent. The last of the champagne is whisked away and replaced with a rich, aged red wine. For the first time in several minutes, Jack raises his eyes to meet Eliana's. He smiles, but there is something about his expression that's both wistful and secretive at the same time.

Eliana 's own eyes go to the plate when it arrives, but they also dart up to the waiter to smile thankfully. Then she's back to marvelling over the food. There is silence for a few moments before Eliana looks up, and she's a bit startled when she meets Jack's eyes on her. "What?" she asks in a soft, bubbling giggle. Her cheeks flush again, and for the first time tonight, Eliana can't control the gas, which seeps from the reddened parts of her skin more than the rest.

Jack blinks owlishly, then shakes his head and picks up his fork. "Trust me, lady-o… You wouldn't believe me if I told you, and I'm enjoying myself too much to send you screaming for the hills just yet." Unconciously, Jack has come to connect his bouts of euphoria to Eliana's presence, but rather than deterring him it's led him to open up even more. He skewers a pan-seared scallop on his fork, lifts it to his mouth, and takes a small, almost dainty bite.

Eliana narrows her eyes a bit at the perceive challenge, then laughs again. But this time, it's more of a good-natured scoff. She lifts the fork intended for her entree along with a knife and cuts off a bit of the lamb to try, picking up a scallop along the way. It's lady-like, but it's a heartier morsel than Jack's choice. "Try me," she says as she brings it to her mouth, and more than just her eyes twinkle with playfulness.

For a moment, Jack almost seems ready to spill the beans. His loosened inhibitions battle with his inherent secrecy, and discretion wins out in the end. Still, enough of him wants to speak that he lifts one finger to indicate a pause, then reaches under the table. When he comes back up he's holding a much worn and well-read copy of 'Activating Evolution,' which he sets on the table and slides across to Eliana. "Tell you what," he murmurs. "Read this and tell me what you think. Then we'll talk." That said, he takes a forkful of lamb and risotto to keep his suddenly nervous hands occupied.

Of all the things that Jack could have pulled from his sleeve to answer that question /that/ book is the last thing that Eliana suspected. She stiffens visibly, and the gas leaks out again. This time, however, it's in full force. Eliana has slowed her chewing of the tender and flavorful lamb, but she soon picks up the pace again, then reaches for the wine to take a longer-than-ladylike drink.

Jack lifts his napkin to pat at his brow as faint beads of perspiration appear near his hairline. He takes a long, bracing drink of his own wine and clears his throat. "Beg pardon. Was it something I said? I can't help but notice that you look a bit concerned, all of a turn." He toys with the food on his own plate once more, his gaze darting from the food to Eliana's face and back again.

Eliana does her best to calm down when Jack speaks again and even drops her hands to her lap so that she can dab her mouth with her napkin, her eyes locked on the book. She finally tears her gaze away and sets it on Jack, her eyes slightly widened with a strange sort of fear. She looks past him then, then back over her own shoulder. "Is…," she starts, but Eliana doesn't continue again until her eyes are back on Jack and she's leaning slightly forward. "Was that new when you bought it?" she whispers.

Jack shrugs, apparently unaware of the implication his answer might incur. "Yeah. Got it a little less than a year ago. Why?" His grey eyes bore into Eliana's, his fear melting away to be replaced by confusion and curiosity.

"And would you say Doctor Suresh is worthy of the tabloids, or…" Eliana's tone is deadly serious, her face earnest as well as uneasy. Why did Jack have this book? One reason would be much worse than the other, but that other would still carry it's own complications. Still…

"I try to keep an open mind at all times. Some of the things I've read in there were a bit outlandish, but…" Jack pauses, and his eyes flash insightfully. "I don't suppose you've already read it, have you?" With a faux casual motion he tosses his napkin over the book, his eyes still on Eliana's and his meal forgotten.

Eliana 's gaze flicks back to the book when it's covered, and she lets out a relieving sigh. It's still there, but at least now she can't see it. "No, I haven't. But I know about it." She studies Jack for a moment, and then, with a deep breath, decides to take the chance. "I prefer to do my own research."

"I've been known to do a bit of self-study as well." Jack's voice is quietly confident now. Perhaps it's the airborns intoxicants, or the wine, or maybe just the outlook of a man who's tired of hiding who he is. Whatever the case, Jack slowly, purposefully puses back his sleeves and cups his hands in a semi-circle against the surface of the table. "Watch," he whispers without meeting Eliana's eyes. He takes a deep breath, holds it for several seconds, then expells it forcefully. When he lifts his hands from the table he reveals a small, square box of chocolates that most definately were not there before. Finally, he lifts his gaze to meet Eliana's, his expression half defensive and half expectant.

So many pieces fall into place then, and Eliana can't help but smirk at the show. "I though it was against some law for magicians to reveal their secrets," she whispers, but there is still a nervous edge to her voice. She knows that etiquette would demand that she share as well, but first Eliana looks around the restaurant as nonchalantly as she can to make sure Jack's little stunt didn't catch any unwanted attention. "I can't show you here," Eliana finally whispers as she looks to her meal, cutting another bit of lamb and poking another scallop on a tine. "If you come back to my place, then sure. It would be safe there. Unless you can get your…hands on a mask." She pauses, then adds as an afterthought, "and a rabbit."

Jack seems to deflate now, letting out a great deal of pent-up nervous energy. "You don't have to show me if you're not comfortable, or take me home with you for a lookie-loo." For the first time, Jack seems relaxed and at peace, a man with the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders. He reaches out and quickly whisks 'Activating Evolution from the table and places it in his lap. "It's enough to be understood, to not feel freakish.." His voice trails off and he shrugs helplessly, obviously a bit overwhelmed.

Even so, Eliana is unsure. She's never told anyone before Jack, and she's already starting to regret the choice in confidant, if only a little bit. "You're not going to-" but she breaks off and simply studies him, her eyebrows furrowed in scrutiny. "No, you wouldn't. Would you?" What would he have to gain?

"Of course I wouldn't." Jack's voice is low and serious now, and his face takes on a compassionate cast. "I'm sorry if I startled you. I've never known anyone who was… Well.. Like me. 'Cept for my parents. And they never knew anyone like us, either. I was starting to think we were all alone." He lifts a hand to his mouth as if he may have revealed too much, then sighs and instead slides it over to find Eliana's.

Eliana doesn't hesitate in taking Jack's hand and giving it a tight squeeze. "I've just had an interesting week," she admits, trying her best to ease his mind. "And you should consider yourself lucky. My parents don't even know." The subject of evolution in regards to modern humans has never come up, but given their fields, Eliana can't help but imagine herself like a pampered rat in a cage if they every did find out.

Jack squeezes Eliana's hand back and smiles gratefully. "I.. Well, I guess I do feel lucky. My Ma, she's a little on the magnetic side, you could say. Got pretty akward the first time she an' I went to the hardware store. And my Da'? What can I say? The bloke has wings." The effect of both Eliana's ability and of having a confidant for the first time lean heavily on Jack, squeezing more information out of him than he might have originally offered.

Once again, Eliana looks around to make sure that no one is listening to closely to their hushed and intimate conversation. She smiles, and with one final squeeze, draws her hand away so that she can continue to eat her meal. "Thank you," she says softly, "for everything."

Jack pushes his plate away with an evident lack of appetite and instead pours himself another glass of wine. After taking a deep drink, he nods and leans back a bit. "'Tis my pleasure, though I'm afraid I may have been a bit too open. 'M glad we're in a corner all our own."

"Jack," Eliana says easily once she's swallowed the lamb and as she reaches for her own nearly empty glass of wine, "I won't compromise you." Unless he endangers her first. "And I'm glad we've both gotten that… well, out in the open, as it were."

"Me too, lass. I've grown more than passing fond of you in past few days, and it's fair liberatin' to tell someone the truth for once." Jack's expression is open and trusting, and his smile is that of the genuinely pleased. "I've kept my own secret for many years," he whispers. "I know how much privacy can mean to one such as us, and I won't betray yours."

"I take it you don't usually trust this easily," Eliana says with a soft smile before she sips her wine. "I know I don't. My grandfather used to always say you should believe nothing your ears tell you and only half of what your eyes tell you."

Jack leans forward and props his chin up on one hand, his face agreeably thoughtful. "To be honest, I don't usually trust at all. It's hard to open up when you feel you have a secret…" He trails off as a server approaches with a dessert menu, then waves it off thoughtlessly. When the server scampers away, he smiles sheepishly. "Sorry, I should've asked if you wanted something sweet. I seem to have lost my appetite."

Eliana 's face breaks into a wide smile at that, and she leans forward, propping both of her elbows on the table and resting her chin on the bridge made by her laced fingers. Her fork dangles like a pendulum from where it is expertly squeezed between two fingers. "You've forgotten your promise, Jackie-boy," she coos.

Evidently he has, because he expression quickly grows blank and confused. "Err. Well. It's been a hell of a night, to be fair. Perhaps you'd be so kind as to remind me so that I might keep my word?" His smile is boyishly sheepish, and he ducks his shoulders a bit embarrassedly.

Eliana scrunches her nose and swings the fork up to point at Jack across the table. "You said you'd teach me how to make cheesecake." The fork drops again, with new momentum in its swing.

Jack reaches out and slowly, deliberately plucks the fork from Eliana's hand. "Aye, that I did. 'M sorry, my mind wanders when I get nervous. But now that I know I have nothing to fear…" He takes the fork, skeweres a scallop, and raises his eyes to meet Eliana's. "I'd be pleased to show you my private sanctum and give you a little lesson." Jack dips the scallop into the mound of chopped mango and pineapple in the center of the plate, then pushes it into his mouth and chews with eyes closed and a look of rapture on his face.

"I didn't mean to impose," Eliana says sincerely but with that same soft smile as she watches Jack eat. "But I am glad you've got your appetite back." With her fork stolen (oh no!), Eliana drops her hands, then slips one over to snag his so that she can start to clean up her plate.

"Worry not about imposition. I spend so much time pretending to be comfortable, it's refreshing to see what the it feels like when it's genuine." Jack smiles a small, self-depricating smile and loads up another forkful, this time with risotto. "But enough about me, how about you? You ever met someone like us before?"

Eliana starts to shake her head, but then pauses. When she speaks, it's in that soft, still slightly frightened voice. You never know who is listening. "I think I might have, but I wasn't… I'm not sure. I mean, it's not something that really comes up in conversation, you know? And I think most people try to hide it, for various reasons."

"That's true, lass. I've been hidin' it for near to twenty years now." Jack sighs ruefully and shrugs once again. "I spend so much time under the public eye now that I can hardly afford to hear others' secrets, much less share my own."

Eliana stiffens a little, momentarily unsure about her trust in Jack once again. "What do you mean, Jack?" she asks quietly, tilting her head to one side.

Jack lets out a low sigh. "You've seen what I can do," his voice is low and secretive. "And you know I'm both a performer and a gambler. Imagine what would happen if people found out that I could.. Y'know.." He gestures to the chocolates on the table. "I don't even want to think of what else might happen."

Eliana is quiet for a moment, then nods. "There are quite a few possibilities yeah." She takes another bite, allowing silence to take over while she chews and swallows the scallop. "At least you can use it productively?" she offers with a shrug.

"I suppose that's true, if you count cheating and chicanery as productive." Jack lifts his glass to his lips and drains it. When he reaches over for the bottle he finds it empty, and frowns. "What about you? I know I said I wouldn't press for a demonstration, but that doesn't mean you can't /tell/ me what you can do."

As if she were a chipmunk rather than a young woman, Eliana looks around again as nonchalantly as she can, pretending to admire the dresses of the other ladies in the restaurant. "I make people happy," she says simply. "But anything to excess, even happiness, is a bad thing. So I have an apology to make to you."

Jack furrows his brow thoughtfully. "Beg pardon? I'm not sure I follow, m'love." He cocks his head to the side inquisitively, but with an utter lack of concern.

Well, /that's/ a word that Eliana hadn't expected to hear so soon after meeting Jack. Maybe it was an Irish thing. Yeah, that had to be it. Definitely. "That night at DnA's," she goes on to explain. "I wasn't exactly honest with my…charms. I meant to just watch you squirm, but…well, /I/ needed to let loose too. And I had a great time," she adds at the last in a bit of a rush, her smile growing. Please don't be mad!

Jack still seems a bit confused by the scattered explanation, but he's starting to put two and two together now. A slow, easy grin spreads across his face and he reaches out to brush the backs of his knuckles across Eliana's cheekbone. "So I was right," he murmurs. "You did slip me the mickey after all, eh?" His smile and lighthearted tone take the edge off the statement, turning it into a humorous revelation.

Eliana falls into Jack's hand with another sighing sort of laugh, her face reddening. Her brows soon furrow as she fights her heart rate, which has been on that dangerous cusp for some time now. "In a way. You're not upset?" She just has to make sure. "I didn't know that…well, that it would go any further than a conversation. But I /did/ have fun. And I still am."

"As am I, love. It's been most pleasant getting to know you." Jack slowly, deliberately drags his fingers up Eliana's forehead and through her pink hair. "I've always seen myself as a monster for what I can do.. But if someone as beautiful as you can share qualities with me, that gives me hope."

"What if we're both monsters?" Eliana whispers, her eyebrows knitting upward with insecurity. Still, she tilts her head into the stroke, much like a cat might when petted.

Jack rune his fingertips along Eliana's scalp and trails them down the back of her neck before answering her question. "We very well may be." His voice is soft and pensive. "But that's another story that only our choices can tell."

Eliana's eyes flutter closed at the touches to her neck, and a slow smile washes away her nervous expression. "I suppose," she says after a moment, her voice hushed, "it's all relative."

"Too true, my dear," Jack's voice is low and husky as he leans across the table. His eyes are wide, fixed on Eliana's. Beneath the table, Chandra Suresh's 'Activating Evolution' thumps to the floor, forgotten as Jack brushes a gentle kiss against Eliana's lips.

But Eliana doesn't notice Jack's wide, perhaps timid eyes when he nears her for the kiss, but instinct clues her in so that she can tilt her head in welcome. The affection is brief, but Eliana doesn't move her head far once it has broken. "Jack," she whispers, her eyes slowly opening to look into his. "Things evolve….slowly."

Jack leans back abruptly and passes a hand over his eyes briefly. "Of course, I'm sorry. It's been a fairly smotional night and I got a little carried away." Despite his statement, his expression and body language are open and earnest.

Eliana shakes her head, moving a hand to rest atop one of Jack's. "It's alright," she says with a smile. "I just don't want to rush. One step at a time. Are you still up for cheesecake?"

Jack smiles and nods winningly. "Of course. I am a man of my word, after all." His hand turns to take Eliana's, and his fingertips graze lightly against her palm. "It pleases me that you're of a mind to take your time. I'm in no rush, either."

"Thanks." She seems relieved at this, as evident by her widening smile. "Well," and Eliana leans forward again. "Cheesecake?"

Jack nods and pushes back from the table. He passes one hand over the table and leaves a neat stack of hundred-dollar bills behind. "I'm ready to go when you are. Danny will take care of all this."

Eliana rises, making sure to pick up both the book from the floor and her pocketbook, pressing them against her side with the same arm that goes for Jack's so that she can be escorted out. The pocketbook is skillfully placed on the outside to help obscure the book. "Where does it all come from?" she asks with a whisper. "You /can't/ create it." That goes against the Conservation of Mass.

Jack grins as he tucks Eliana's hand inside his arm and leads her toward the front door of the restaurant. "Easy. I just keep things I'm fond of in mind. As lons as I know where they are, the rest just comes naturally."

The conversation is paused while Eliana's coat is retrieved, but as the pair moves outside to hail a cab, Eliana pipes up again, taking care to keep her voice low. "So where does it come from?" she asks again.

"I'm not really sure. I just concentrate, and things appear. It's been that way ever since I was a boy who wanted nothing more than cookies before dinner." Jack shrugs and helps Eliana into her coat himself, obviously as interested in a scientific explanation as she is.

Eliana isn't practiced at slight-of-hand, but she does manage to slip the book into her coat along with her pocketbook in order to free up her hands. "That doesn't… I don't know, disturb you? It has to come from /somewhere./"
"I know where each thing comes from, lass. That's one of the hitches. If I don't know where something is, I can't bring it to me. All I do is bring things I know of close to hand." Jack shrugs. He doesn't miss Eliana tucking away his book, but he doesn't seem to mind, either. He did offer to loan it to her, after all.

"But /where?/" Eliana persists, leaning in a little. She raises one of her free hands to hail a cab, but her attention is mostly on the man at her side.

Jack lets out a long sigh as the cab pulls up. He pauses with his hand on the door, answering Eliana's question before opening it. "The roses from yesterday? They came from a flower shop in Brooklyn. The chocolates? A boutique not far from here. The money for the meal came out of a floor safe in my apartment."

Eliana didn't expect this much honesty, but she's beginning to learn that what she expects from Jack isn't what she's going to get. Once at Jack's apartment, cheesecake is made. The whole ordeal takes some time, however, but Eliana and Jack pass that time with small talk. Cheesecake, of course, has to be chilled, but the pair aren't that patient, so the 'finished' product is still a bit soggy. But it tastes good, and that's what matters. Another kiss is shared before Eliana leaves, and the pink-haired woman can't help but smile softly to herself all the way back to her apartment.

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