Love Hurts

A Restaurant Somewhere In Dallas

The restaurant that Mischa has chosen is a French one with moderately expensive fare, widely regarded as a dating hotspot in Dallas and one of the fanciest dining establishments in all of the city. The outside of the restaurant is dimly (but appropriately and safety-ordinance) lit at night with the use of white scalloped scones and lanterns stuck in the ground. The white restaurant bears the name across the front of the building above the door arch. There are large picture windows on either side of the door, giving passerbys a look at luxury.
The dinner reservation was BARELY pushed back, but it has been retained. Mischa sits at the table reserved for two near the center of the room. Perhaps it's a bit more in the 'center of attention' then he would have liked, but the mood is wonderful. Perhaps a little too intimate and romantic for the awkwardness that will most likely ensue when Summer gets here.
Nevertheless, Mischa has cleaned himself up nicely. He wears a white dress shirt, a black tie, black slacks, silver owl-shaped cufflinks, and black dress shoes. There's a small velvet box sitting on the table, about ring-sized.

Summer is late, for various reasons. She really shouldn't be, but as she's not even really certain that Mischa is going to show up she's been sitting out in her awful Christine of a vehicle in the parking lot for a good long while. So long, that she didn't even notice him head inside.
The confidence she's exuded in the past is just really not there. After the 'showdown' or whatever that was at the Cerebral Deli, she's not even positive what she wants at this point. Still, she's here and she's entering.
Her outfit isn't as fancy as some she's worn in the past, but it's enough to get through the night. A strapless red number that goes down just a bit past her knees. Tall black boots are worn with it, and her hair is left down for once.
As she's lead to the table, she just stands there, staring at the velvet box.

When Mischa turns and sees Summer, his eyes widen considerably. He almost audibly gets his breath caught in his throat. "Oh my God, you look…" In the cartoons, his tongue would be unrolling to the ground and there would be hearts in his eyes and steam pouring from his ears. After a moment of staring at her prominent curves, he pulls himself together enough to stand up and move to pull her chair out for her. "You look amazing. Please, sit down. I have a bottle of red wine on it's way… I hope you won't mind. The server was getting a little pushy about me starting to order," he says with a quiet laugh.
There are mumbles of 'Resident Evil' underneath his breath. He's a geek to his very core and her attire seems to at least reminded him of a very popular video game franchise known for the skimpy outfits on their female characters. Or perhaps it's the movie franchise doing it for him. In either case, he looks certainly appreciative of her. "Did you get held up at the office?"

"Thank you." Summer doesn't sit though. She just continues to stare at the box, awkwardly. So his reaction is mostly missed. Sliding her purse off of her shoulder, she slips it around the back of the chair, but other than that she doesn't really move.
"No… I've been out in the parking lot for a while. Trying to decide whether I should come in and be stood up, or whether you were actually going to be here."

The chair is pulled out… and Mischa somehow realizes that it might be a little awkward to continue this conversation standing up in the middle of a five-star restaurant. He sits down in his own seat and motions to Summer's once more. "Why wouldn't I be here?" He asks, before pausing and reaching up to take his glasses off.
"Wait. Let me go first. I owe you a big apology, Summer. You're… you're a wonderful girl. I realize how… utterly neglectful I've been. I'm sorry. I really am. Actions speak louder than words though." Mischa sighs a little bit as he reaches up to rub at the bridge of his nose.
Thankfully he doesn't drop down on one knee and brandish the box. It's being saved for later. "You mean a lot to me. I got stupid when Brett came around the other day. I should have been a little more calmer, a little less sulky and resentful of him. But it's plain to see that he really likes you. I felt threatened. I'm sorry for that. This isn't easy for me, you know. I haven't been in a relationship in so long, and… I don't know what I'm doing. I don't know how this is all supposed to work. Please forgive me, Summer."

Summer is still not seating herself. He may not be getting down on one knee, but she's got a pretty good idea of what's in the box. Which is going to make this a whole lot more awkward than she would have liked it to be.
"Because, Mischa. The whole thing the other night… and now I'm left wondering if the only reason you're going to all this trouble with that," she says pointing to the box, "is because you obviously didn't trust me, and you're afraid that now you're going to lose me." There's a frown on her face, but as the waiter appears with the wine, she finally seats herself.
"You didn't just get stupid over that. You didn't and don't trust me… and I can't be in a relationship like that." Which sounds like a cop-out. "I forgive you, but I'm not going to lie to you, Mischa. I do like Brett, and not just because he's a…" She waves her hand, not wanting to say the word aloud in such a public location.

"You don't even know what's in the box." Mischa says, but he still doesn't open it. His tone is disappointed, though it's hard to tell in who. Him? Her? Brett? God? He reaches up to run his fingers through his hair, effectively mussing it as he's wont to do. Mischa reaches for the bottle of wine, then thinks better of it. He retracts his hand as he listens to Summer with raised brows.
"…He is?" That explains some of it. The urge to fight for her. His sudden boost of testosterone. They're both just animals on the inside, right? "Summer…" Mischa trails off there, and the pain on his face is visible.
"It's not that I didn't trust you. I didn't trust him. But if you really do like him…" There's a pause and a sigh. "Perhaps you need to explore that."

"It's a velvet ring box, Mischa. I may not know exactly what's in it, but all things considered, I wouldn't feel right accepting jewelry tonight, okay?" Summer waits until his hand is moved from the wine bottle, and lifts it to pour herself a glass. Swirling the wine around a little, she exhales a long sigh. The disappointed, hurt tone, is what she really wanted to avoid.
"He is. Toby figured it out before I did, but… he's honestly just genuinely a nice guy. I was hoping the two of you could be friends, but I know that's an impossibility now." Who knew having a male friend would be so difficult. "It's partially why I was out all night after going dancing. Early morning full moon." Unable to stop the shift when that happens and all.
"Brett hasn't done anything wrong. Or perhaps he has in your eyes." The possibility of exploring things was not even in her mind until this very moment. At least, not exploring anything beyond friendship.

Mischa can't help but grin a little lopsidedly at Summer's refusal of the jewelry. "I think I'm going to have to insist that you take this." He finally pops open the box. What's inside isn't nearly as fancy as the past jewelry he's given her. In fact, he probably got it from one of the typical vending machines in a department store that keep children occupied while their mothers are on their cell phones.
It's a simple mood ring, complete with the adjustable band and easily breakable metal. "Consider it the extension of an olive branch. No matter what happens between us, I always want us to be friends. Maybe that's a little more naive of me than usual. I keep wanting things to work out for the best." There's a pause. "Stranger things have happened, you know, than Brett and I possibly becoming friends. It just might take some time."
After that, there's a long pause. "You're breaking up with me, aren't you."

Spying the mood ring seems to cause a little bit of the tension of the evening to wash away. Even if Summer doesn't laugh. She looks at it for a long moment, then asks, "Did you pick that up outside the shop?" They do have vending machines not too far from there, not that she's spent a lot of time looking at them. Still, she doesn't reach for it. She does, however, take a nice long sip of the wine.
"I don't know, Mischa. I could excuse the neglecting, what with the injury, and you having to switch shifts until Doris returned, but whether you meant it or not, there was a lack of trust there. One that tells me that no matter what I do, you're never going to trust me. Even in the most innocent of circumstances."

"Summer…" Now it's Mischa who is vaguely offended and hurt by this. He takes in a deep breath, which lets itself out as a long, but quiet sigh. "I'm really sorry, Summer. I don't know what else to say at this point. I don't think the apologies are doing it for you anymore, no matter how genuine they are. And I understand."
Wow, this is really awkward. Still, he doesn't reach for the wine bottle. He simply sits and stares at his glass a little bit disassociatively. "Just tell me what you want to do. What you want /me/ to do."

With another heavy sigh, Summer reaches for the mood ring and slips it onto the pointer finger of her right hand. It's the one that it fits on without having to fuss with adjusting it. It's also the finger she has to worry the least about a ring being on, even if it doesn't match her outfit. Despite the warmth of her hand, the color in the ring shifts to a yellowish-orange color.
"I accept that you're sorry, and I can accept the sincerity of the apology, but you really hurt me with that lack of trust." It's not something one can just laugh off and get past. "I don't know, and it's not fair for me to decide for you, Mischa. Right now, I think we'd better order." Before the waiter gets impatient and kicks them out.

He actually seems somewhat shocked that Summer wants to eat at all. But eventually the waiter comes to hover and clear his throat. "Duck a l'orange for me, please." Mischa smiles at Summer as he waits for her to order. There's not much to say, and it's certainly a strained smile. But in the meantime, he pours himself a glass of wine.

Did he expect her to just get up and walk out of the restaurant? Summer isn't cruel, and she's going to try to get through her hurt, but that's going to take time and work. As she's not looked at the menu, she just glances at the waiter. "The same, please." It may not be her favorite dish, but she doesn't want to make the poor man wait any longer.
"I don't hate you, Mischa… and things aren't strained because of my friendship with Brett. This problem was there with or without that. To be honest, I figured that you were weaning yourself off of me in order to let me down more gently."

"I wasn't weaning you, Summer. We got so close so fast that it scared me. I don't know how to respond to these emotions…" Mischa admits, biting his lip before he shakes his head and takes a long drink of his wine, draining most of the glass in fact. He puts it down and refills it before clearing his throat a little bit.
"I'm sorry. I'm an ass. And a tool. And any other variety of things. You may not hate me, but I'm not my number one fan right now, Summer." There's a brief pause before he slinks down into his chair and sighs. "God, I'm sorry. I'm just… I'm sorry. It wasn't supposed to be like this. None of it was."

"Do you think I do?" That could mean a whole lot of things, none of which Summer is elaborating on at the moment. "Don't drink so fast, you'll make yourself sick." He may not, but that's not the point. He's obviously not enjoying himself.
"You were an ass," she points out, having no problem doing so. "Even Toby remarked on it as I was shutting the shop down… and he generally stays out of my life in regards to relationships." Protective her father will be when necessary, but he generally lets her muddle through things on her own unless she asks for help.
"Stop apologizing, Mischa. Please. It is what it is." She takes a small sip of the wine, then just sets the glass on the table. Hands falling to her lap. "What wasn't supposed to be like this?"

Mischa winces at being called an ass. By Toby no less. His every instinct is telling him to get up and run, but he knows he'll be an even bigger ass if he does. So his punishment is clearly to stay in his seat and endure it. Then again, by proxy… he's made her feel bad for how long now?
"This whole thing. I thought I could do this right. I thought… I don't know. That'd we have more of a shot than this. I…" Obviously he wants to apologize again, but she's sick of hearing it. He's almost sick of saying it. But he doesn't know what else to say. Instead he hangs his head and looks quite pitiful.

Toby is nothing but honest about what he sees in the shop. He had a few choice words for her too, but Summer isn't going to repeat any of those at this moment.
"What's right and what's wrong? Relationships are what they are because of what two people bring to them. There's nothing saying that anything was done wrong, it's just not working right now." For many reasons. "I'm not saying you're the only one to blame either. Things moved really swiftly between us, and I should have explained about Brett sooner, and not just sprung it on you as a surprise. We both got comfortable, and let the important things slip away."

"Summer… yeah." That's all Mischa can say for a long moment as his eyes darken. It's not as eloquent as he normally is, but there are many responses in these sorts of situations. Other men would have reacted worse.
"Let's just try to enjoy the evening as much as we can. Even if our conversation hasn't been particularly pleasant, I was looking forward to coming here with you. I thought it would be fun." Mischa gives her a brave smile before reaching for his glass again and beginning to sip liberally.

Even with things the way they are, she forges on. Trying to bypass the … what? The breakup? The slowdown?
"How are the turtles?" Summer really would have called them cooters, but that's not something you do in an upscale restaurant. "I found something for them in the pond out behind the clinic. I can gather it and bring it over some time. If you'd like."

Mischa nods to Summer. "I'd like that, and I'm sure they would. They're getting fairly big. I think I might need to switch their tanks soon." And thus the conversation goes, turning to turtles. The night trudges forward as the two do, attempting to get through the strange dinner.

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