(Saturday 18th, April)
Nyla sighed and looked at the clothes in her closet. What was she doing? She'd never cared about her appearance before, so why was she overthinking about it now? Nyla hit her head and shook it. She needed to get it together. This wasn't a date; she was merely taking some time outside of work to get to know Lucien as a friend. That was it. With renewed determination, Nyla grabbed out her clothes and quickly put them on. Glancing at the clock, she realised it was just past lunch and picked up her phone to order some take out. She didn't know for certain when Lucien would get off, but she excepted it would be a while.
Unexpectedly, her phone rang, and it was Lucien's name on the screen. Nyla blinked. She hadn't expected that. She answered as she wandered into the bathroom. "This is Correa."
"Why the formal greeting?" Lucien's smooth voice came through, and Nyla pushed down her embarrassment.
"Habit, I guess." She said, putting Lucien on speaker and placing the phone on the sink. She grabbed her hairbrush and released her hair from the messy bun she'd put it up in. It fell gracefully, and she began brushing it.
"Well, I hope it's one you break when it comes to greeting me." Nyla smiled.
"Why are you calling? It's lunchtime! You can't be off work yet?" Lucien laughter came through the phone.
"Actually, I am. The government is shutting us down early, so they can check our equipment. It's quite problematic."
"I'm surprised you work on a Saturday," Nyla said, and Lucien laughed again.
"Says the trauma surgeon. Surely, you've worked your weekends away?" Nyla flushed, feeling attacked. It was true that during her time as a resident, and even more so an intern, she'd worked weekends but now that she was attending, she'd promised to make more time for herself.
"Well, yes, but I was saving lives. What are you reaching that's so important that it takes up your weekend?" Nyla asked, feeling genuinely curious.
"I'm not sure you'd be interested," Lucien said, though his tone was teasing. Nyla smiled.
"Try me." In the end, Nyla had spent her lunchtime talking to Lucien about his research. She'd managed to follow him along quite well, though, at times Lucien had gotten so passionate that he'd gone off into a tangent of words even Nyla hadn't heard of before. And her work was all about understanding big words. She listened to her stomach growl and sighed.
"What is it? Getting bored?" Lucien asked, her sigh having cut him off.
"No, not at all. It's just..." Nyla bit her lip. "I'm so hungry. I slept in so I haven't eaten anything all day." Lucien chuckled.
"Well, we can't have that, can we?. I'm almost home, how about I take you out for lunch? You do owe me a date after all." Nyla felt herself flush at his words.
"Sure." She managed to get out.
"Great!" She could practically hear the smile in Lucien's voice, and that managed to ease her embarrassment. "Do you have any preferences?" He asked, and Nyla wanted to scoff. She grew with Aria around, meaning there was no such thing as disliking any types of food. You took what you could get. Instead, she smiled.
"Perfect. I've just hopped into the elevator. I can't wait to see you." Lucien said before ending the phone call. Nyla felt herself flush hard and glanced at herself in the mirror. As she'd predicted, her hair had turned a light shade of pink. She cursed and fanned her face, trying to ease her embarrassment. Now was not the time for her hair to react to her emotions! She managed to get her heartbeat under control and watched as her hair returned to that familiar shade of white. She sighed when there was a knock on the door. Standing up straighter, Nyla check herself over before realising what she was doing and shaking her head. She smacked her cheeks.
"Get it together, Nyla. This is just lunch between friends. That's all." She whispered to herself until her heartbeat had returned to normal once again. She then made her way out of the bathroom and towards the front door. She opened it and found Lucien standing at the doorway, still dressed in his lab coat. He smiled down at her. While he wasn't that much taller than her, he still had to look down to make eye contact with her.
"Hello, neighbour." He said, and Nyla smiled at him.
"Now that's more like it." He said, and Nyla blinked.
"More like what?"
"Greeting me with my name, I much prefer it to 'Professor'." He said, and Nyla flushed slightly.
"Good to know." She muttered, and Lucien laughed. What was wrong with her? Normally, she was the one doing all the teasing, but with Lucien, it was the other way around. Now she knew how Tessa felt. "So where are we going?" She asked, and Lucien winked at her.
"It's a secret." He said, putting his finger to his lips. Nyla blinked but nodded, closing her door behind her and following Lucien down the hall.
"Aren't you going to get changed?" She asked, and Lucien smiled down at her.
"And waste your precious time? Not a chance." Nyla suppressed her flush and climbed board the elevator with Lucien. Soon enough, they were out on the streets, and Lucien was leading her towards the food court near his lab. "I hope you don't mind the food court. I didn't have a lot of time to prepare." Lucien said, and Nyla smiled at him.
"Are you kidding? I love the food court!" She said, eyes running over the potential options for lunch. She can't remember the last time she'd been to a food court.
"Really?" Lucien asked, sounding generally surprised. Nyla flushed slightly.
"I know it's silly since I'm a doctor, but I can't help it. Cheap food is my weakest." Nyla said. Growing up in an orphanage had taught her that the best kind of food was the food that fed everyone and if that meant it was cheap and greasy, so be it. Nyla felt Lucien's stare and turned to look at him. He was looking at her with fascination again. She smiled at him, feeling slightly flushed. Again. She turned away and her eyes locked onto a fish and chip stall. She grabbed Lucien by his wrist and started dragging him towards it. "Come on, let's eat."
She got into line and looked up at the menu. After scouring over it, she decided on a simple fish and chips pack since she was just feeding herself. She went to grab out her wallet when Lucien's hand stopped her. She blinked up at him. "Isn't it a general rule of dates that the one doing the taking out buys lunch?" Lucien said, a teasing glint in his eyes. Nyla smiled.
"That is true, but this is the twenty-first century, so I think it's only fair we split. I'll buy yours, and you can buy mine." Lucien smiled and nodded. They ordered their lunch and paid for it before making their way over to a table. Nyla sat down and started digging in while Lucien stared at his with some confusion. "Is everything okay?" She asked, and he smiled at her.
"I must admit I've never had fish 'n' chips before." Nyla blinked, surprised.
"Really?" Lucien nodded, and Nyla frowned. "I wish you had said something. I don't want you to eat something you don't want." Lucien smiled and shook his head.
"I don't mind. If you enjoy it, then I'll gladly eat it." Nyla watched as Lucien picked up a chip and bit down on it, taking some off. A look of surprise overcame his features as he chewed and he smiled. "It's delicious." Nyla smiled and continued eating her lunch. They engaged in small conversation as they ate their lunch, talking about whatever came to mind, which was small nothings. Just as they'd finished eating, Lucien's phone buzzed, and he glanced at it before smiling at Nyla.
"Looks like I'm being summoned back to the lab." He said, and Nyla nodded, standing up.
"Well, I enjoyed having lunch with you." Lucien smiled and stood up as well.
"Same. I hope we can do it again soon." Nyla flushed but smiled at the scientist. She said her goodbyes before making her way back to her apartment, deciding to take the time to enjoy the beauty was Loveland City on a bright, sunny date.
Lucien watched Nyla go. He had genuinely enjoyed lunch and found the taste of the fish 'n' chips strange but pleasing. It wasn't until Nyla, and her colour was completely gone that the smile fell from Lucien's face, turning into a bored expression. He turned on his heel and began making his way back to the lab, forgetting all about lunch and thinking about his current experiment.