Nicholas: In Which I Finally Learn Jordan's Name
To say I was excited that my new companion had decided he could trust me was an understatement. To say that I was a little nervous about how breakfast would go over would be an even bigger understatement. I don't think one ever gets used to eating your first meal with a stranger, especially when it's just the two of you. I mean, when it's just you sitting across from them there's always the chance that both of you will let an awkward silence grow. Or you could babble on senselessly trying to prevent the conversation from dying away into that uncomfortable lack of conversation. Or just say something that makes you look like a complete idiot. Without anyone else around you to save you from embarrassing yourself, there's every possibility that you'll do just that.
What made my situation slightly more stressful to me was the fact that my guest was making me a little nervous. For absolutely no reason at all. I was absolutely desperate to prove to him that I wasn't the scary dragon he remembered seeing me as. Not that I hadn't felt that with my previous guests, but I guess it hadn't been as much of a worry with them. They could see me as good, bad, or indifferent if they so chose, and I could have lived with it. But with him...for some reason I felt like I had to prove myself. Which confused me, intrigued me, and scared me all at the same time.
It's just breakfast, I told myself firmly. You're stressing yourself over nothing. I waved my hand vaguely in the direction of the cupboards, and one of the doors opened as two bowls gently bobbed towards me. I plucked them out of the air one at a time and dished up the contents of the pot, then summoned two spoons and waved them towards the table.
"So you've got other kinds of magic too, huh?" I glanced over my shoulder, surprised that my guest had spoken up. He was lounging in his chair casually, arms folded over his chest as he watched me through hooded eyes. Some of his hair fell over one half of his face, and I briefly wondered how on earth it wasn't driving him crazy. "You can shapeshift, move objects from one place to another...make objects disappear too." He rubbed at his wrists as he said this, and I noticed the slight bruising on his tanned skin. I frowned-I hadn't noticed the bruising last night in the dark. He noticed my displeasure and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "What?" he asked roughly, his tone defensive.
"I hadn't noticed the state of your wrists," I replied, bringing the bowls over to the table and setting one in front of him. "If I'd had known they were in that shape I would have found a poultice for them." He shrugged and picked up his spoon, stirring the soup thoughtfully. He poked and prodded at it for a minute, his mouth set in a confused line. "It's blueberry soup," I told him, feeling even more nervous now. "It's delicious, though I personally like it better cold." Quite babbling, Nicholas, you're making a fool out of yourself. When he still didn't take a bite, I tried for a more humorous angle. "It's not going to bite you back, you know."
He looked up at me with an irritated glare. "I know that, smartass," he growled, "I'm just waiting for it to cool down." Ouch. I winced at his harsh tone, and his expression softened a little. "Sorry," he muttered, raising the spoon to his lips and blowing on it gently. He took a tentative sip at first, but his eyes suddenly widened and he gulped down the whole spoonful before scooping up some more. A wave of relief washed over me as he continued to eat, though it was tempered by concern and worry. He was gobbling down the soup as if he hadn't eaten a full meal in weeks. That might not be too far from the truth, I thought to myself, noticing the way his clothing hung on him like limp rags.
I turned my attention back to my own meal with a quiet sigh and began eating. Before long I heard his spoon scraping the bottom of his bowl, and I glanced up in time to see him staring at the pot longingly. "It's alright to have seconds," I told him. He jumped nearly a foot in the air upon hearing my voice, and I tried my best not to laugh. "Go ahead," I told him, waving my spoon in the general direction of the fireplace, "help yourself. I'm not going to stop you." He stared at me, apparently judging whether or not I was telling the truth, before jumping up and jogging over to the pot. He ladled out a much larger helping than the one I'd given him, and came trotting back to the table, a pleased grin on his face. "I take it you enjoy my cooking," I teased him.
He froze with his spoon halfway to his mouth, a comical expression on his face as he processed what I'd just said. And then I watched him slowly turn scarlet, the color starting in his cheeks and spreading all the way to his ears. He ducked his head, and his black hair fell across his face like a dark curtain. "Maybe," he mumbled in a very tiny voice, shoving his spoonful in his mouth. "Maybe a little." I had to take a very hasty bite of my own breakfast to keep myself from grinning. He was just too adorable like that, all flustered and embarrassed. We ate in silence for a little longer, and his blush slowly faded away. He got up to get another helping once he was finished with his second and paused as he was dishing himself up. "Hey, you said your name was Nicholas, yeah?" he asked, finishing his task and coming back to the table.
I couldn't resist. "Last time I checked."
His glare was absolutely priceless. "Very funny," he growled, sitting down again. "I was only asking because I don't think I told you what my name was, and I was trying to remember if you'd told me yours or if it was just a fear-induced hallucination." He took a few more bites, then turned towards me and stuck out his hand. "I'm Jordan," he said firmly, making sure that we made eye contact as he introduced himself. I grasped his hand and shook it, noting that his grip was a lot stronger than I would have previously guessed. He released my hand and went back to making his third helping disappear. "Thanks for breakfast," he said softly. "It's been a while since I've eaten anything this good."
How long has it been since you've eaten anything period? I wondered. "Thank you," I replied, hoping that I sounded as grateful as I felt. "I appreciate the compliment." I saw the ghost of a smile flicker on his lips, though it vanished so quickly I thought I'd imagined it. He shrugged noncommittally and continued eating. "You can have as much food here as you like," I told him. "Anything I make, you can have. I'm not going to make you starve." This time that little smile lingered longer before disappearing once more. It had been tiny, a barely noticeable quirk at the corners of his mouth, but it was enough. For now, at least. I didn't know how long Jordan would be staying here, but I was going to make sure that, during his time in my home, I would get him to show me a real smile.