The Definition of Dinner

Generic Office Building
It's a generic office building.

"Heeey," Ella hesitantly approaches the front desk in the office, a black messenger style laptop bag slung over a shoulder. "Any chance that Connor is in?" Her gaze shifts around the room, and she slowly teeters from one foot the other. "See, I've got this laptop that keeps beeping when it starts to turn on…" Suddenly looking a bit sheepish, she presses her lips together and falls silent.

The receptionist nods to Ella and points her down to a row of cubicles. Thankfully it won't take long for Ella to notice Connor. The poor man can be seen almost comically falling backward in his chair before righting himself again, glancing around nervously to see if anyone saw that. The spot check reveals Ella, whom he smiles at sheepishly. He stands up and makes his way over to the blonde. "I see you found the building alright. Want some coffee or something?" Connor asks. The receptionist makes a comment about 'as long as you get it yourself' before going back to her magazine.

"Thank you," the blonde wiggles her fingers in thanks at the receptionist. A quiet, light-hearted laugh escapes Ella's lips as she starts to approach Connor's cubicle. Tilting her head, she lightly leans a shoulder against the thin wall of one of the cubes in the row. "I'm fine, thanks," she says, glancing down toward her bag and only half-hiding a shy, dimpled grin. "How are you? I hope I'm not intruding at a bad time.. I can come back some other time if so."

"No, it's not a bad time…" Connor eyes his desk chair. "I just… that chair is broken." That's about the best excuse he can offer about at the moment. Telling Ella that he got scared by one of those mazes where the scary image pops out at you is probably not very cool at all. "I'm doing alright. How about you?" He asks, as he starts to lead the blonde off toward his cubicle.
The cubicle is… massively nerdy, to be sure. Instead of pictures of family and friends, Connor has decorated it with solved crossword puzzles. There's a Rubik's cube and a few Tamagotchi on it, which he promptly looks ashamed of and hides in his upper desk drawer.

"Ahh." Ella is not aware of the truth, so she smiles and nods - it seems the excuse has worked for her. "I'm doing pretty well, thank you. This is a really nice office," she bobs her head, casually taking a look around as they stroll through the 'cubes and end up at Connor's. It's hard for her not to take a look around, peering at a crossword puzzle before waving toward the Rubik's Cube with a small grin. "I could only ever finish the top two tiers - once I got to the last third I could do nothing but mess it up to the point where I was at square one." The flap of her bag is tugged up with a tug, velcro crinkling as the pieces separate. "Thank you so much, by the way. I swear I've tried everything and I just don't get it." Out comes her laptop - it's an ancient, heavy, bulky piece that should probably just be recycled rather than used any further.

For what it's worth, Connor can't seem to finish his Rubik's cube either. Not a single one of the rows matched with any colors at all. He sits down in his chair very gingerly before reaching out for the laptop and grinning at Ella briefly. "It's no problem at all. My workload is fairly light for the next few weeks…" He lowers his voice as he says this, peering to a few other cubicles before he shakes his head and tries to turn on Ella's laptop. The archaic piece of equipment is given a double take as it starts to beep. Connor clears his throat and glances over to his computer, beginning to key in a few things. Like the serial number and brand of the laptop. "When did you buy this?"

"Well, thanks. I appreciate it." Ella glances downward, shoving her hands into her back pockets as she now lacks anything she needs to hold on to. Scuffing the toe of her right shoe into the floor, she glances away and clears her throat lightly. "See, ah, I've had it for four years? My Dad had it for years before that, so I'm not particularly sure what year it came out - but it's old…" Trailing off her expression is promptly a sheepish one, cheeks flushing to a bright shade of pink. "If I could afford a new one, I'd just get one. It's probably beyond fixing though, hm?" She presses her lips together, leaning over to peek over Connor's shoulder - hopefully as unobstrusively as possible.

Connor gives Ella a bit of a look. How many years now? He shakes his head a little bit and glances down at the laptop, then the page that has appeared on his monitor. "Here it is. Okay…" He reads a bit before frowning and reaching up to rub at the bridge of his nose. "Well, this isn't good. They don't make parts anymore for this model and I'm fairly certain that it's the beeping of death. But I could probably build you a new laptop for cheap if I can salvage a few of the not-so-dated parts. How does that sound?" Connor asks as he reaches for a pen on his desk, starting to take some notes down.

Ella snaps her fingers. "I half suspected as much," she says with a tiny, wistful grin. "That's quite alright. I'll just, ah, keep my internet time limited to my downtime running the front desk at work. Thank you so much, though." She shrugs a shoulder, before straightening back up and lifting slightly to stretch her vertebrae. "I really appreciate you taking a look, anyway. That was really nice of you." She reaches out to grab up the ancient hunk-o-junk and tuck it away back into her bag. "Can I take you out for a drink as thanks?" She pauses, clarifying quickly, "A pack of TBs, whatever."

There's another doubletake, this one given to Ella as Connor quirks a brow. "Really?" He asks as though he can hardly believe that she's asking him to drinks. "Sure… I mean, yes. I was going to tell you that you could pay me by letting you take me to dinner, but… alright, this is good too. I'm free almost any night before nine PM. I know that's probably not a great time margin, but it's all I have to work with… what about you?" He asks, putting down his pen. Vampires? Nervous? This one is.

"Well, yeah." Ella looks surprised in return - surprised at his surprise! "I could take you to dinner too, sure, whatever," she goes with his suggestion and waves a hand, before lifting it to rub at the back of her neck. "That works. My classes don't go any later than 8, and I can always switch my desk shift." Lifting her chin, she nods toward his computer. "Do you work basically all night, then?"

"Mmm. My shift ends about two hours before the sun generally comes up. I have enough time to get home and get situated before I'm toast…" Connor lets out a quiet chuckle at this before giving a vague shrug of his shoulder and smiling at Ella. "For the record, I meant that you could eat. I could just creepily watch. I didn't mean to insinuate that, uh, yeah… not my kind of dinner, see." He laughs. "Drinks would probably be better."

"Ouch." Ella cringes at the thought, shaking her shoulders in a shiver. "I figured that's what you meant." she cracks a small smile, sliding a thumb underneath the strap of her bag. "I don't really like eating, though, let alone being watched while I do it. So yeah, drinks may be more enjoyable for both of us," she explains and agrees, reaching out to gently pat Connor's shoulder.

Connor looks slightly perplexed by someone actual touching him. He grins however, looking somewhat bashful. "You don't like eating? Hm. Me either, actually. Drinks it is. Oh!" Connor says, as he rips a piece of paper off of his crossword puzzle book — tattered at the edges and having seen better days, no doubt. He jots down his phone number and hands it over to her. "Whenever you're ready, just let me know." He really doesn't have anything better to do.

Ella returns the smile - it's almost shy, really. Aren't they awkward? With the piece of paper in hand, she whips out her cell phone and texts him a 'hey' so he has her number in return. "Too bad you're working now - I just got paid today, and there's a martini special going on at Absinthe tonight," she lifts a shoulder, flipping her phone shut with a 'click.' Pausing, she glances over at one of the crossword puzzles and eyes it inquisitively. "I feel like an idiot, but I've never been able to completely finish a crossword puzzle without cheating. Or giving up. I generally give up."

"Well, I could help you." Connor offers, before another employee walks by his desk, tapping his wristwatch. The middle-aged man gives Connor a stern look before he smiles at Ella apologetically. "Sorry, Ella. That's my cue to get back to work. Call me soon, alright?" He asks with a smile before waving to his boss who nods at them both and moves on with his cup of coffee. Connor rolls his eyes once he makes sure that the man is out of sight and turns his computer back to another database that needs organizing and compiling.

"Yep - sorry to have kept you. I hope I haven't gotten you into trouble. Good luck, and good night." With a little salute, Ella takes a step backward out of Connor's cubicle. "That would be great, actually. I've got a whole stack of them from a friend just sitting on my counter untouched." Pausing, she lifts a finger. "I will. And thanks!" With a wave, she promptly slips out.

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