Lumos

First Dates

London | January 18, 1986

It’s a Friday night when Jonas swings by Paige’s flat, dressed in a blue peacoat against the winter chill and with a mustard yellow scarf around his neck. He’s also carrying a small bouquet of flowers – nothing extravagant, since it’s January, but they’re pretty, full of different flowers and in varying shades of purple. He takes a deep breath before ringing the bell.

Max opens the door quickly after the ring, revealing that she may or may not have been waiting on the other side for a few minutes. She's dressed in a tan peacoat that extends into pleats, almost dress-like. Her hair falls in soft manicured curls and for once, there is not a single stain on her person. The toddler is DEFINITELY out of town. "Why Jonas, how smart you look," she teases. The boy sure does clean up nice. Noticing the flowers she laughs. "Oh shit, this is really a date, isn't it?"

Jonas beams when she opens the door, although quickly gets distracted just looking at her. “Wow,” he says, sounding particularly impressed. “So do you. You look beautiful.” Her mention of the flowers gets him back on track though, and he goes back to smiling as he hands them out to her. “Yes, that was indeed my intention when asking you on a date. I hope you like flowers?”

Jonas' big smile causes Max to grin like an idiot. Hands on her hips, she strikes a small pose. "Oh thanks, I just threw this together." Clearly, she did not. She accepts the flowers, bringing them up to her face for a closer inspection- and to hide her dumb grin. "No, I hate them," she deadpans. Turning quickly, she disappears inside to drop them off of the couch, then reappears. Closing the door behind her, "They're fantastic. Thank you! So, where are we headed?"

"Oh, a friend of mine actually opened up a restaurant near here I thought we could check out?" Jonas says. He offers Maddox his arm, intending to walk there rather than apparate, while his other hand slides into his pocket to stay warm. "It's open to Muggles, but there's a Wizard room if you know the password. Which I do, of course. I haven't eaten there yet, but I helped with some of the finishing touches on the interior. So it might be fun?"

Max clicks her tongue, impressed. "What a fancy friend!" She takes his arm with an appreciative smile and lets him lead the way. "Can't wait to see your work in action. Is it themed or anything like that? I once went to this place that looked like an entire rainforest. And get this, it was a BATHROOM."

“It’s sort of a garden theme?” Jonas replies, starting to lead the way down the sidewalk. Hopefully she’s alright with the walk. “It might be one of those things you have to see for yourself.” He chuckles and looks over at her at the rainforest comment though. “A bathroom, really? Well I didn’t design the bathrooms, so you can’t judge me based on those.”

"Well it sounds lovely. I'm excited to see it." Max enjoys brisk wintery strolls at night, especially with a handsome fellow. "I'm excited to see you too," she adds softly. "Sorry if I was a little bit clumsy last week." Sure, let's call it that.

“Me too!” Jonas smiles brightly. “I mean, I’ve seen it, but not with people there. I’m excited to see what you think of it.” He turns them down a street, paying attention to the street signs as they pass, but grins back at her at her apology. “Oh, no apologies necessary. I know you have your hands full. And besides, you’ve seen me in some… clumsy situations, so we can just call it even?”

Max watches Jonas with a sort of peaceful expression. Almost as if he's a figment of her imagination that she created to cope with her shitty life decisions. "Deal. We're even." She pushes in a little closer to him as they walk. "It's not far, is it? I'm cold as hell."

“Oh yes, I think it’s… just here, actually?” They do indeed come up to a nice little Muggle restaurant. But rather than stop and open the door for Max, Jonas keeps walking, ducking around the corner until they come up to what looks like a service door. “Password?” A bouncer-looking guy asks. “Bertie Botts,” Jonas replies. And it’s apparently correct, because the guy opens the door for them. The Muggle potion of the restaurant was all nice linen and some shrubbery decor, but the wizard portion is like walking into an English garden. While Max may have been cold outside, in here it’s like a pleasant Spring day, complete with what feels like sunlight coming down through a balcony of tree branches and the tweeting of birds that never actually appear. They’re led to a small alcove that’s surrounded by hedges, and a vine-covered lattice offers extra privacy. But there’s still a dinner table, set up nicely with plenty of forks and knives, and a menu apiece. The fare is similar to the Muggle menu, but offers magical twists and other exciting things. Jonas has been paying more attention to their surroundings once they’re inside, and as they sit he turns to study the vines closely before asking, “Is this alright? I asked for this table ahead of time, actually, but let me know if it’s a bit much…”

Max turns to look into the front window as they pass it. “Oh?” The further stroll to the private entrance has her raise her eyebrows, but then she is suddenly awestruck by the interior of the wizard restaurant. She is speechless through the entryway. She is speechless through the garden. She is speechless all the way to the alcove as her eyes try to examine every detail. This is a rare quiet moment for her. Quietly, she unbuttons her coat to reveal a stunning cobalt dress that accentuates her curves. A waiter takes the coat from her as she sits down across from Jonas. The expression on her face is blatantly wonderstruck. She clears her throat. “Uh yeah…this will do.” This is clearly the understatement of the year.

Jonas too handed over his winter wear, of course. He’s wearing a nice long-sleeved shirt underneath. “You look lovely,” he compliments her, taking in the dress now that he can focus. “So yea, this is what I meant when I said interior design. I mean, I didn’t grow the plants or anything, but I did the trees and the temperature and the noises, and helped with the layout. It has been kind of a side project lately. And my friend suggested the pheasant, although you should order whatever you want.”

Max picks up the menu and begins to scan through it. She peeks over the side and smiles at him. “Thanks.” Looking around again, she takes in her surroundings as he describes everything. “You’ve really outdone yourself. This is breathtaking. Honestly, I’m sitting here and I can’t even speak. And if the pheasant is recommended, pheasant it is!” Does she even like pheasant? It’s like chicken, right? “How long were you working on it? And how do you know this friend again?”

Jonas only gives the menu a cursory once-over before moving onto the drink menu. “Thanks! I’ve been at it a few weeks, in between working on my own house. This week I was trying to rebuild a fountain, but sculpting isn’t really my thing so I might have to start over… how has your week been? Sorry, I’ve been hogging all the conversation.” He smiles apologetically and sets the menu aside. “The friend is from Hogwarts though. He was a year above me, in Hufflepuff.”

“God, working on your own house, doing all this. You really keep busy. I’m kind of jealous actually.” Max watches as Jonas looks at the drinks and hurries to study that section herself. “No, please! It’s fine, I’m just a little…overwhelmed. My week has been a little weird on the emotional front. Got some bad news regarding family, but then I made up for it by going dancing at a fantastic Muggle club.”

“Oh no, I’m sorry,” Jonas replies, frowning with concern at that news. “Is it the sort of news that might eventually be okay, or…?” He trails off, and glances back at the menu during the pause. “Dancing sounds fun though. I love to dance, actually. What sort of club was it?”

“Yeah, don’t worry. I’m pretty much past it at this point. We can’t fight fate, can we?” Max shrugs a little, but her face is genuine on that matter. “It was a Muggle club, actually. We pretended we were locals. You’ll definitely have to come with me next time, then. For some reason I didn’t take you for a dancer.” She opens her mouth to say something else but the waiter arrives to take their order. She eyes Jonas. “What’re you getting? I’ll do the same.”

“Indeed we can’t,” Jonas replies, not pressing her further. When the waiter arrives, he orders them both the pheasant at her direction, as well as a steak tartar to start with and a glass of red wine – or two if she wants to copy him there as well. Once the waiter has wandered off with their orders, leaving a basket of artisanal bread rolls in his wake, Jonas turns back to Max. “Well it depends on the music I guess. There were some Muggle clubs in San Francisco I liked to go to though, and I love doing the lighting for shows if it’s a magical venue! It’s sort of a hobby of mine.”

Max nods along as Jonas orders. She nods particularly vigorously at the wine. “It was like a mix of popular hits. So Phil Collins, Journey, Kajagoogoo…” it’s almost like she’s speaking in tongues. Grabbing a roll, she begins to pick it apart. “Eurythmics, A-ha. The usual I guess. I’m a huge fan of Muggle music, it’s pretty embarrassing. And, um, things. I collect all sorts of things as well.” She smiles brightly, popping a fluffy piece of bread into her mouth. “Is there anything you DON’T do? Restaurants, clubs…bathrooms maybe?”

“Oh, sure. I’ve heard of them. I like listening to dj mixes and things, myself. It’s amazing what Muggles can do with those electronics of theirs.” Their wine at least arrives promptly, but other than checking that they’re content the waiter doesn’t linger. Each time the waiter leaves, the vines grow back to create a curtain of sorts for their sunny alcove. “I took Muggle Studies at school, so I find those things fascinating as well. Even things like… pencils. Here we are with quills all the time, and such a simple thing as pencils exist! It’s marvelous.” Jonas is beaming, genuinely excited for the Muggles and their creative writing instruments. “Well I’ve done bathrooms of course, but nothing so exciting as a rainforest bathroom. Maybe that’s the level I’ll hope to aspire too.”

"Honestly. People make fun of them but they do it by HAND." Max smiles softly as the vines return. God, this is such a beautiful place. She takes her glass of wine and swishes it around a little, aerating it. "Right? Who would have thought? It's literally just a stick, I'm so proud of them." His excitement rubs off on her. She leans forward with a grin. "Just wait until I show you my keytar. It'll blow your mind." Thinking for a second, she corrects. "That's not a euphemism, I swear."

The nights wears on, and Jonas can talk endlessly about Muggle writing instruments – but luckily he doesn’t. They chat about this and that instead, reminisce about shared fond memories of San Francisco, and eat their food. The pheasant also is served in a nest that sort of ‘hatches’ to present them with a beautifully-plated meal – and it is delicious, if you like pheasant. As the waiter grows more scarce, and Jonas has had more to drink, he gets a little bolder as well, cuddling up to max until he has an arm wrapped firmly around her, one hand resting at the bottom of her ribs. He’s turned towards her and is laughing about something, but stops himself to instead just smile down at her. “So…” he finally says, “this has been a lot more fun than I’ve had in… awhile.”

So it turns out that pheasant does indeed taste like a leaner version of chicken! Max has been absolutely delighted throughout their dinner. It is evident that she truly enjoys his company, even now as they sit close. She snuggles into the space between his arm and his side, soaking in his warmth. Hopefully this time she won't be drunk enough to do something crazy like…smell him. Luckily, she's kept herself in line tonight. Looking up at Jonas, her green eyes twinkle. "I was about to say the same thing actually. Being with Roxie has its perks and all, but nothing beats conversation with a handsome man." Her smile widens. "Also, I never thought I would eat a pheasant but here we are. "

“I would assume that the two have very different things to offer?” Jonas guesses, still grinning at her. And speaking of things to offer, he bites his lip as if trying to make a decision, then leans in to go for a kiss. A proper kiss this time, too, full of all the ‘appreciation’ he has for their fine evening so far.

Max has seen the signs before, even though she's currently three years into a dry spell. She is SO READY for the moment and possibly a bit overeager to kiss him. Meeting him halfway, her lips intercept his with just as much gusto. Placing her hand on his chest, she tugs at his shirt to bring him in a little closer.

Jonas is happy to lean in closer when she pulls him in. He also is happy to continue kissing her, shifting his arm until they’re just squashed together in their private little alcove. When the waiter finally does arrive, they luckily have a slight warning as the vines shift out of the way. Jonas is very quick to pull away, shifting to the side and crossing his arms in front of him in an attempt to look super casual. “Hmm, ah, I think just the check please?” He asks, lifting an eyebrow to Max for confirmation.

With the softest sigh possible, Max practically melts at his touch. OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, the vines move and Jonas is gone. She straightens abruptly and fixes her outfit. "Sure, that'd be great, thank you," she utters all too politely. A mere second after the waiter departs, she leans forward and kisses the back of Jonas' neck. "Thanks for dinner," she whispers.

Jonas is fumbling with his money purse, or whatever the manly equivalent of coin wallets for wizards are, paying the waiter accordingly. The vines don’t close now that they’ve paid, although he’s eyeing them as if considering changing the spell when she leans in to kiss him again. “Um, so hey, want to check out my place?” he asks ever so casually.

Max chuckles, then pulls back once the offer is made. Mind, she doesn't exactly recoil, but a more serious look washes over her face. "Umm…are you sure?" Her eyes ask the unstated question of 'is this going to mess up our friendship?' or even 'does it matter if it does?'

“I mean…” Jonas quickly says, as if he’s about to backpedal. But then he relaxes, and smiles softly. “Yea, I’m sure. No pressure though, we… don’t need to rush, or anything.”

Max looks down into her palms for a moment, as if they have the answer written on them. Meeting his eyes once more, she grins. "Fuck it, let's go."

“Yea, okay,” Jonas says with a grin. He slides out of their alcove and reaches for her hand to lead her away.

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ArannahMithren Nilli

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