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Second chance at a first impression (private)

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1 Second chance at a first impression (private) on Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:40 pm

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A tinge of nervousness. A small dallop of doubt. Zrea felt these two feelings mix within his chest, churning with the feeling of a thousand fluttering wings. It was not like the counselor to feel this way, and he hoped that nobody would be able to tell. He straitened one of the sleeves of his sweater, for the sixth time in the last few minutes alone. Zrea had to take a single deep slow breath, calming himself to the best of his ability. His feeling was purely anxiety, that only made up a smaller portion. He was mostly excited as he stood outside the café waiting.

After his trip to the bar, Zrea had kept in contact with the officer he had met. He was glad that he had not drunken himself into a stupor that night and forgotten about her, or otherwise done something incredibly stupid that evening. He could remember clearly going home, nearly getting mugged on the way but had decided to leave that out of their scroll conversations, and passing out on his couch. It was over these talks that the guidance counselor became more interested in Bai than he was over just a single night of flirting. Not wanting to wait to long, he had asked to meet her today.

Zrea in all his haste and fervor had actually left to early, but rather than get a table and wait inside he stood out on the sidewalk. Leaning against the wall he looked as another group walked past, he glanced at a watch. Wonderful. Still half an hour to early. At least he did not mind waiting. He had somethimg to look forward to.

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Bai looked at the time on her scroll. Why the hell was she already heading there so damned early? Sure this was her first ever date in any sense of the word but she didn't have to be that early. Her nerves were at an all time high. After that night she had gone out on a limb and texted the green haired man she met at the bar. They messaged each other back and forth, mostly due to him texting her regularly. And then he asked her out on a date, at first she said no but after almost everyone in one of the online chatboxes she was a part of told her to go she caved in and agreed to the date.

As she rounded the corner Bai saw she was nearly twenty minutes early. Which meant she would probably have to wait for Zrea to.... well nevermind. Even from this distance the stupidly long green hair was a dead give away. Suddenly all the nerves that had been building up hit Bai in one powerful blow. Stopping dead in her tracks she seriously contemplated turning around and bailing on the whole thing.

But what if this was her only chance? What if this was her one opportunity to actually have some kind of love life? And was that even what she wanted? She had goals and things she had to get done, could she do those things if she somehow got into some relationship? With no real answer to these questions Bai started walking again towards Zrea and the Café. Of course she had no idea how to even approach this, her only social life was online. Hell she had never even gone out with people from work for drinks or anything.

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Zrea leabed forward off the rough brick wall with a mute groan and a slight pain in his back. He had been leaning against some part of the wall jutting out awkwardly. The feeling quickly faded, and his attention was turned towards a pair of hunters walking past in their armor. Were they students? The counselor wondered, guessing at their age but deciding that at this moment he did not really care. He had his own life to take care of at this moment, and a date to wait for.

With his attention now drawn away from that slight wandering, Zrea turned to look down the sidewalk glancing twice each way. His pupils focused on something on the second go around, something he had missed the first. Those green eyes of his spied Bai his gut dropped for a moment. He was slightly more nervous, that much he could not deny. Yet he did not really know why. This was not the first date he had ever gone on, but maybe it was because it was the first one here. The first chance at something normal, or at least not affiliated with any of his crimes. At least he hoped it would not. He would hate it if he got dragged along into some kind of mess.

In this musing of his, Zrea had let the officer come a litte closer before he moved to meet her halfway. With a throat clearing quiet cough the counselor caged the butterflies in an iron box, putting on one of his great ear to ear smiles. "Hey, I'm glad you could make it." He spoke jovially as he stopped in front of his date. With a turn and wide motion of his arms he waved towards the entrance of the café. "Have you had lunch yet? This is by far one of my favorite places." There was a tiny hint of hopefulness in his voice. A fear that he would say the wrong thing somehow.

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Putting one foot in front of the other Bai kept heading towards this date. She still wasn't sure if this was a good idea or not but if she didn't do this then she would probably be more pissed at herself than she would be if she did and it went wrong. And who knows, this might actually go well. Of course that didn't stop her from being extremely nervous about this whole thing. With every step she took the butterflies in her chest got more intense. Getting information from a witness, easy. Interrogating a suspect, piece of cake. So why was something this simple so nerve wracking for her?

Before she could even answer her own mental questions she was met by Zrea. He had come closer to meet her. Well the first thing she noticed was he was still attractive, which was good. It would have been bad if his appearance before was only due to how drunk she had been at the time. Luckily that wasn't the case. For a moment it reminded her of one of her VNs, an incredibly attractive guy like him going out with her. Weren't guys like him supposed to go out with like models and such?

“Yeah....” she responded to his words with all the smoothness of sandpaper. Because that's how you say hi to your date, wonderful. Bai mentally berated herself a bit. “No, I haven't eaten yet,” she said, actually getting some bearings for her words, “huh... I've never been to this place before.”

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The magician had to force himself to keep from smiling like a village idiot as he nodded his understanding. "You will not be disappointed then I hope." Zrea was not kidding that this place was one of his favorites, but his impression on the cafe may have been a bit skewed. He had done business with the owner at one time long ago, and though they were on good terms now, there was just as often that he was afraid of being clobbered back in the good old days in Mistral. He walked side by side with his date, taking in just how attractive the shorter woman was in the daylight. Mirroring what he could not have known was going through Bai's head, he was glad that his initial viewing of the woman before he had gotten a little tipsy had been correct.

Without even thinking about it, Zrea held open the glass door into the building for Bai to enter taking in the cooling breeze that wafted out with the aroma of fresh pastries and other delicacies. The interior was quiet, and a mix of modern and antique that gave it a nice lived in feeling. Wooden tables spotted the room in a way that seemed almost haphazard, but there was always enough space for portly waiter to flit his way about the room. While just as many of the the tall tables had stools and chairs of various makes and designs, there were an almost even amount of low couches for people to rest on, though many of these were already taken by people of various ages. The green haired man chose one of the tables though, one right next to the outer window so they could take advantage of the glorious sunlight.

Soon that same portly waiter came over and left a menu and a couple glasses of water. Zrea already knew what he was going to order, he always got the same thing every time here, but opened the menu anyways. "This. This was an okay place wasn't it?" Zrea asked, letting a little of his locked up nervousness flood into his voice before he could cover it up. "Me and the proprietor go way back, about a decade I think." He started to ramble if just to keep his mouth moving. Green eyes looked at his date. "I really am glad you could make it. How did you get away from all those psychos for even a day?" He asked but instantly regretted it. It was not his intention to bring up work. But he stuck with the subject, grinning as he said psychos as if it was a poor joke.

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Now walking with Zrea towards the cafe she was wondering more than ever if this was a mistake. At the same time though she was mentally berating herself for her own nervousness. She was known to be one of the best interrogators on the force and could crack a suspect like an egg, figuratively speaking that is. But this, a date, was making her feel like a rookie again. Of course she knew that it was just like her first case as a detective, she had been a slight nervous wreck but she had learned to work past it. Maybe this would be the same, the more experience she got the

Entering the cafe Bai immediately noticed the aesthetic they seemed to be going for. It was actually kinda nice. A lot of the smaller places were trying to go with that more modern feeling and while it wasn't bad it god redundant after a while. Places like this had personality and were just a nicer place to hang out in, plus the food was usually much better most of the time. Sure Celestial Deers had some good drinks, if a bit pricy, but they were all over the place. Local joints were always better in Bai's opinion, she wished she could go to them more often but most the time she ended up getting food from either some fast food joint while at work or the convenience store near her place.

Sitting across from Zrea at the table near the window she tried her calm her nerves without giving any outward sign that she was nervous. She gave the portly man a small nod as he put down some menus and glasses of water. Looking over at her date she realized, just by the way he was talking, that he was as nervous as she was. Even in a setting like this she couldn't stop her skills at reading people. “Yeah, this place is pretty nice,” she said, trying to not be as awkward as she felt. It was kinda nice to know that Zrea wasn't all suave and slick like she had remembered. Not that those were bad things, but she probably would have been even more nervous if that was the case. Her eyebrow raised as he mentioned getting away from the psychos. His face gave away that he immediately wished he hadn't said what he did. With a small breath Bai tried to relax and answer as smoothly as she could. “I mean they're not all bad, mostly just a bunch of macho guys though. Unless you mean the criminals,” she said, trying to make some sort of joke though not sure if it would work or not.

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Zrea had to chuckle at the joke that Bai made. Even though he had made a mistake as far as he was concerned, he was glad that she was comfortable enough to make a witty retort. His hands he folded over one and rested them on the table, elbows hanging off the edge as one who paid attention to proper mannerisms of dinning would. The rogueish professor did not even think about this action, having forced himself to make this a habit long ago. Back when he would infiltrate high society for better pickings.

He opened the menu, but barely even glanced at its pages. Zrea knew exactly what there was on the menu, having visited this place at least weekly since coming to Bellmuse. "Your coworkers that bad?" He asked in jest going with the topic at hand to make things easier. "I wouldn't dare to imagine how stressful policing a city with all these up and coming hunters causing problems here and there could be." There was a pause in his voice, not anytging that meant anything. Just a pause to let him think. Maybe he could relate, having taken it upon himself to monitor and attempt to ease the youthful soldiers' minds. Not something he ever thought he would be doing when he left Mistral.

Just as soon as the counselor opened his mouth to speak again, the waiter returned to take their order. Annoyed that he was interrupted, Zrea made his order of a rye with mushroom and chicken sandwich, before handing the menu back. "Always with the bloody timing." He muttered. "Bai. I was wondering where you are from. Have you been on Bellmuse all this time?"

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Well it would seem that her attempt at redirecting things in a more humorous direction was working. Humor was a good way to mask nervousness after all and considering this was the first date she had been on ever she could feel her heart rate rising. Not being as cultured as her date she simply did what she was used to doing at tables and leaned forward some, resting her forearms on the table. Not really having much experience eating out except for ordering fast food almost every day for lunch Bai's more proper mannerisms had a lot to be desired.

Opening her menu Bai focused her eyes on it, they were here to eat after all, plus a distraction would help her mask how nervous she was about all of this. “Some of them can be, but mostly they're good guys. I mean there are a few guys who probably shouldn't be cops but hey,” she shrugged and found something on the menu that looked appealing to her, “yeah, they can be trouble sometimes but mostly there's a lot of wannabes and second rate criminals. Not to say that there isn't anybody dangerous out there but they're more the exception than the rule.” Of course there was still Bai's old partner on the loose and his group of buddies but they hadn't been active since then.

Noticing the waiter come over to take their orders. Letting Zrea order first Bai went with what she found on the menu. “I'll take two orders of the thick cut strawberry french toast,” she said prompting an odd look from the waiter as she had ordered enough food for two of herself. Handing over her own menu the waiter went off and Bai no longer had anything else to look at besides her date. “I was born and raised here in Bellmuse, never left the island.”

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