First Of Many

Title: First Of Many
Who: Colin and Tiago
When: October 19th, 2010
Where: The Redwood
What: Colin cooks a meal for Tiago which could be described as romantic, but it's abandoned when their feelings for each other become clear.

===< The Redwood >< #300 >===
Inside the giant redwood, there is actually living space, and due to the size, there's a lot of room to go around. The main area is a parlor of sorts, with wooden-framed furniture grown out of the wooden floor, the upholstery on which seems to resemble thick leaves and petals, and are as comfortable as any cushion. There are monitors all over the place, as well as a large one in front of the furniture that resembles a television, save that the casing seems to be grown out of the same wood as the floors and furniture. Off to the right is a multi-monitored computer array, the interface and chair also grown out of the walls and floor. There are at least four doors that can be seen leading out of the main room, presumable to living facilities and amenities. The lights that dot the walls and the 30-foot high ceiling inside the tree are seemingly made of a soft phosphorescent fungus.

There's a free moment. A free evening, in fact, and Colin Reed has a promise to keep. Some time ago, he promised Tiago he's make dinner one night, because he wanted to take a shot at it. Though, things happened; meeting people, one who's been missing for twenty=five years. That is just the tip of the iceberg. It's been a busy time for everyone involved; Colin, Tiago, Heather and Rebecca. But there might be something coming from it all; friends at the least. A team as well. This has spurred Dr. Reed to be more active as Thorn, the plant-tech based superhero, who has a giant redwood as a headquarters. Said Redwood has all the amenties, besides, and it's the kitchen he's using tonight.

While Colin, in both his normal life and superhero life, is environmentally conscious, this doesn't mean he's on a 'vegan and water' diet. No, he goes for normal food, and is apt to grab Mickey D's when he's in a rush. The waste being fully recycled of course. However, he's not daring to do that for tonight; he's out to impress Tiago. Badly. What he's come up with, bringing things to the table, chairs, and candlesticks he's grown out of genetic engineering and attached to the floor, is chicken parmesean over angel hair pasta with a self-made sauce, a healthy salad (mostly grown in-house), and a bottle of smooth red wine to go with it.

Tiago has been in need of an evening off. His working life and his superheroing life have both kicked into a higher gear recently, simultaneously, and he's struggling to keep on top of it all. He's coping but he knows he should be doing better at both aspects of his life, and he also knows he won't be able to keep up this pace forever. On the other hand, he isn't willing to abandon either his job or his… other job. So he'll just have to live with it. Still, the invite from Colin was gratefully received and he wasted no time in hightailing it over to the Redwood. Though he's always well dressed (he couldn't possibly allow himself to be seen in a bad outfit), tonight he's made more of an effort than usual and is entirely decked out in clothes he designed himself. Which means they're amazing. Naturally.

Having made the trip invisibly so that he could enter the Redwood without being seen, Tiago adds intangibility to the mix and passes smoothly through the entrance. Once inside, he solidifies and becomes visible again. "Hello, Rose!" he calls cheerfully. He's getting to grips with the idea that Colin's computer is 'alive'. "I hope you do not mind me coming inside without knocking. It seemed easiest?" He pauses. "Is Colin ready for me? Shall I go straight up?" He pauses again, eyes widening at his own impoliteness. "Oh! And how are you?"

There's a momentary start of alarm as Tiago phases in, and Rose in fact almost sounds the klaxon to alert the owner/creator of this domicile, until her scanners pick up just who it is. "Good evening, Mr. Ferruguento," Rose says, very, /very/ polite. "You are expected in the dining room," she continues, then pauses a bit. "I am doing well, operating at 98.8124 efficiency, which is optimal. Also, I have been having conversations with Ms. Light, since we have much in common." Ms. Light being Heather. "It is good to have you visit, Mr. Ferruguento." Now, Colin was just reading the paper over the last few days, noting termite problems in the San Angeles area. Out Loud. Someone didn't want snarky AIs embarassing him.

While this occurs, Colin checks his shirt and tie in the lacquered finish in his kitchen's fridge. Like the rest of the Redwood, his appliances are all wood, though a high grade that is resistant to drastic temperature changes. Gene warper, like Heather once said about him, but he takes the care to ensure there is no harm to any plants here. Og man, is this tie straight…?

"I wish I could operate at optimal efficiency, I might get more work done," Tiago jests, though he isn't entirely sure whether or not Rose understands, or is remotely interested in, his jokes. "Heather is a very nice lady. I am glad you are becoming friends," he adds. He's pretty sure he's done the acceptable amount of small talk now and can move on without causing offense. He likes Rose and would be happy to chat with her at length under normal circumstances, but there's a dinner and a Colin waiting for him and both these things are enticing. "Well, I hope you have a nice evening, Rose. I will go see Colin now." He smiles and nods his head at… the room in general, before scooting off to find the dining room.

He's been here enough times now that he's starting to find his way around pretty well, so he makes it to his destination in a few seconds. Poking his head into the room, his gaze falls on Colin's back immediately, catching him straightening his tie in the reflection of his fridge. A fond smile spreads across his lips. "You look very nice," he offers softly. Smooth.

"You too, Tiago," Rose says, addressing the man by his first name as he takes his leave. Colin's been excited about the team, so he's been telling Rose what he can about it. And making sure the appropriate folks have access to the Redwood. As far as he knows, he's the only one with a 'base' of some kind. Is Rose…chuckling? Still, the Redwood is impeccably clean, and there's a woodsy scent that isn't too cloying ot clogs the senses.

When addressed, COlin appears startled, but he's not jumping out of his skin. He turns around quickly, coughing his embarassment into his balled hand. "Thank you," he says. "You too, you know. I'm glad you had some free time. I'd have done this weeks back, but…" He spreads an arm around the kitchen, mostly to symbolize everything that's happened.

Tiago inclines his head slightly to accept the compliment from Colin, smile resting on his lips. "It is okay. You have been busy. We all have. It has been quite a month, yes?" His gaze remains on Colin for a couple more seconds before he glances away to take in the sight of the kitchen. It really is astounding and never ceases to take his breath away. His job has taken him to some very eccentric places, filled with the kind of flamboyant interior design that only fashion folk can come up with, but the Redwood is something else entirely. Genuinely unique, truly reflective of its owner, and beautiful. Going back to his own apartment is always a slightly disheartening experience after visiting the Redwood.

"Thank you for inviting me," he says quickly, realising he's been staring in awe at the homegrown furnishings. "I have been looking forward to this all day. And something smells good!" he adds with a grin, again glancing into the kitchen. He hesitates before continuing, chancing a sideways glance at Colin. "Is, um, is Becky joining us tonight?" Say no say no say no. He loves Becky but this is a Colin night.

"I hope I did it right," Colin replies, regarding the dinner. He read up on how to make it, and what would go good with what he wanted to eat. "Though I guess I should have asked if you had any food allergies." Because that, /that/ would be just his luck. Or some religion that makes chickens sacred. He moves, slowly leading Tiago out into the dining room. "It's all set up, really," he admits, and the spread's candles are lit, the lights are dimmed, and the food is steaming, next to the chilled glasses and red wine in an unopened bottle.

"Becky wanted to go out tonight," he adds. More like he mumbled something over breakfast a few days back that he promised Tiago he'd make dinner and Rebecca suddenly came up with plans, which surprised Colin to no end. He's happy about it, however, though a touch nervous.

"No, no allergies. I will eat anything." He hesitates and laughs, realising how that sounds. "Uh. Within reason." He won't be eating the lampshades or his fork or anything. When Colin says Becky won't be joining them, he tries to look casual about the whole thing but instead manages to appear visibly relieved. "Oh. Just the two of us then. Good. Okay. Good." Feeling his cheeks beginning to pink a little, he clears his throat and moves along with Colin to the dining room. Chill, Ferruguento.

His eyes widen a touch as he enters the room and sees the effort Colin has gone to. The dimmed lights, the wine, the candles… it's romantic. There's no getting away from it. It's romantic. Which, of course, is fine by him. Taking in the scene for a moment, his smile softens. "Colin… this is just lovely." As he turns his smile in Colin's direction, he reaches out and lets his fingertips rest on Colin's arm for a moment. "Thank you." For a moment, he remains still, gaze caught by Colin's face, before he draws in a quick breath and lets his hand fall away, feet carrying him over to the table. "You have gone to so much trouble. And it looks delicious! I did not know you could cook. Where do you find time to do things like this when you are so busy with your work? I struggle to find the time to make beans!" Somebody might be trying to initiate a more normal conversation in an attempt to counteract the squishy affectionate feelings bubbling in his tummy.

"I had to wing it," Colin replies. Though, winging it meaning studying recipies obsessively, and with a scientist's mind for exactness in measurement and an eye for detail. Which could be pretty anal from at least one perspective, but there's a point where Colin didn't want to leave anything to chance. "I made the time," he does say, as he takes his seat. The table's comfortable enough to fit all the food, but small enough for the intimacy. "Sometimes…you just need to do it, you know?" He looks up, tilting a hand so Tiago can take his food first. "Though, did I mention Becky wanted to meet…oh, wait, I did, when Heather had her kids over." Not so much pets, considering. Colin's odd like that.

Tiago might be odd too because he thinks of them as Heather's kids too. They live in a strange world. "Yes, I need to find time to stop by and see her. My time is not my own these days, it seems." He reaches out to help himself to some of the food as he continues. "The show is in two weeks now so things are a little crazy at work. I have spent the day making adjustments to the finished outfits so they are a perfect fit for our models. I am quite cross, actually. I specifically requested women who are normal sized, I do not want my work modelled by stick insects. And what do I get? Stick insects. Pah."

He shakes his head in irritation at the whole thing, adopting his annoyed face, though an annoyed Tiago is much like a vaguely disgruntled puppy. He checks himself though, looking up at Colin with a bashful grin. "Sorry, I do not mean to talk shop. I do not /want/ to talk shop. Not while I have such good company." He smiles before looking down at the heap of food he's served up for himself. "Did you grow this yourself?" he asks, gesturing at the salad as he prepares his first forkful.

"No, it's all right," Colin replies, with a chuckle to put the other man at ease. "It's a world I don't know about, and while I'll never be there, I like hearing you talk about it." Pause. "When it's less upsetting for you. Maybe Becky will flatter your designs better?" Not that Colin knows thing one about the fashion industry other than all the models are female and painfully thin. Tiago is helping him perpetuate that stereotype, apparently, from his stories. Once ready, he gets some of the pasta and chicken on his place, placing his salad in a small wooden bowl with some pale orange-ish dressing.

"I did," he says, taking a little pride in his work. "I keep an indoor garden. It helps me keep calm, just working on it. I used to help mom back in Washington." Colin's garden is eclectic, by some standards. Possibly not entirely legal, but why bring that up. "Is this good," he asks. "You're sometimes very hard to read, Tiago. I'm never sure if you're kidding, or being serious, or…well, just being friendly."

"Yes," Tiago replies emphatically. "Becky did not become an icon by accident. She would flatter any designer's clothes. I am so lucky that she is interested in working with me." The business and career opportunities that are likely to come his way through association with someone like Rebecca haven't escaped his attention. Though, truth be told, he's mostly just excited because he likes her and it'll be nice to share his passion with a friend.

The forkful of food disappears into his mouth as he listens to Colin speak, chewing thoughtfully as if he isn't quite sure how to respond. "I am not… I did not mean to be… confusing? This is not my intention, Colin. I am sorry." He hesitates, clearly troubled that Colin might feel he's been sending mixed messages, and takes a sip of wine to focus himself. As he places down the glass, he looks up at Colin with a smile that he hopes is as genuine as he means it to be. "The food is delicious, Colin. Really, it is perfect. Especially this sauce." He looks down at his plate as if he's going to stop talking but thinks better of it, returning his gaze to his friend. "I like it very much. And I like you very much. Please do not doubt that."

Admittedly, Colin has thought of a number of the same things. He wants Tiago to succeed, and association with Rebecca, especially considering the media circus that will no doubt surround her return to the public eye. But, while Colin feels that will help, he is hoping that it will call attention to Tiago's designs, to be enjoyed on their own merits. He hasn't touched the wine, himself. Not yet. "I'm chalking it up to being a little dense." Beat. "Me being dense. Not you." He purses his lips, fork in his hand. "See, I am never sure if you're hitting on me, or just being gregarious." His smile is small, shy. "I think I know the answer?"

Tiago twists some pasta with his fork while his free hand absently rests on the stalk of the wine glass, absently rotating it between his fingertips. He wants to make a joke about how Colin will /know/ when he's hitting on him but he refrains. He's just been told that he isn't always entirely clear when he's being serious and when he's just kidding and since it is rapidly becoming clear that this conversation is important, he doesn't want to screw it up. No matter how many butterflies are engaging in some kind of carnival in his stomach. Instead, he allows a smile to touch his own lips, small and shy, like a mirror of Colin.

"I think you do." He hesitates, feeling warm. "Becky and Heather… they asked me how long you and I have been dating," he says, his smile growing some at the memory of that conversation. "I told them we are not. Yet. But I hope that we will." His smile broadens because… well, he's Tiago and smiling comes naturally to him. But it's not the unguarded, cheery smile he usually deploys. This is the nervous, hopeful kind. "In fact, I was hoping that this, tonight, might qualify as a date. If… if that is what you would like too." Ohboy.

Which has also been putting tons of butterflies in Colin's stomach. If Tiago was just being friendly, admitting things would make everything awkward. He might even have taken offense, but Colin's starting to pick up that maybe Tiago is feeling the same way. Unsure of the other's intentions. It's been a little stressful, but Colin has let other things take up his headspace. Except now. He's been wanting to impress the man, not with his technology, or his work. Just…him, making an effort.

"They said that?" Apparently, neither Becky nor Heather have broached the subject with Colin, from the look of surprise on his face. "I feel different when you're around, maybe they noticed that, too." He relaxes a bit. "That was what I was hoping for, Tiago," he says. "It's been…a while. And I am into you, big time."

Tiago nods to confirm that Becky and Heather are far too perceptive for comfort. And will probably be teasing them both over this soon enough. This is their inevitable fate.

As one might expect, Tiago smiles impossibly wide once Colin says he likes him. He thought that was the case, and Heather certainly seemed to think so too, but hearing it from the lips of the man himself? Well, it's pretty darn awesome. "Good. That is… that is good." He puts down his fork for a moment, letting out a breath as if he'd been holding it for the last week, laughing as he visibly relaxes. "I have been so nervous. I mean, I am not usually so nervous about this sort of thing but… you…" He smiles. "You are not just some guy. I really did not want to screw this up." Tentatively, he reaches across the table and lets his fingertips brush against the back of Colin's hand. "I like you too. Very much."

When it happens, Colin turns his hand over, Tiago's fingertips light against his palm, and his against Tiago's. His smile is broad, his mouth slightly open, though it would seem words have failed the scientist. He glances to the table, then back up to Tiago's eyes.

The free hand which had been resting on the wine glass shifts position so that Tiago can slide the glass smoothly out of his way. His plate soon follows. While his hand is busy, his eyes never leave Colin's, a smile playing on his lips. His fingertips stop stroking against Colin's palm as he closes his own hand around that of the other man. A deep breath passes his lips, as if he hadn't been able to breathe for a few seconds, which is, of course, the case. Slowly, he rises from his chair a little and starts to lean forward, his intention probably perfectly clear. It's awkward, though. With the table between them, he can't quite get the access required, even clearing his dinner from his path. With a grin, he decides to give up on that tactic and, instead, steps away from his chair and cleanly circles the table to arrive at Colin's side.

Reaching out his hand, he takes hold of Colin's fingers once more to gently tug him out of his seat, his smile still reflected in his eyes. Tenderly, he touches Colin's cheek, before leaning in to kiss him.

There's those few silent seconds, where all Colin is sure he can hear is his own heartbeat. So much of the wondering has drained from his face; hw knows where Tiago stands, and right now the designer is standing by his chair. He comes easily out of his seat, and since said chairs are grown into the floor, there's no awkward chair-moving noises, or chairs getting knocked over. He feels his eyes close as his lips touch Tiago's, parting slightly, as his chest swells with an intake of breath; his scent, his touch. His head tilts one side to get a better angle for the kiss, and he remains wordless for the moment, basking in the contact he had wanted…

Tiago's fingers slip from Colin's cheek to play at the edges of his hair as he feels their lips meet. He smiles into the kiss, at the sensation of finally being able to be this intimate with Colin. It makes him feel alive, and for Tiago, that's an important thing. Here in this moment, he feels more truly a part of the land of the living than he has since dark threads of magic transformed him into Spook. It's an exhilerating feeling, intoxicating, and it's all down to Colin. It's all the Portuguese man can do to stop himself from lifting his friend - more than a friend now - off his feet and swing him around with joy. He refrains, happily. Having Colin in his arms is more than enough. Gently, he lets the kiss break, though he keeps his face close to Colin's, his nose just an inch from the other man's as he looks into his eyes, smile spreading once more. His mind feels filled to bursting with thoughts but, at the same time, blank. He's thinking with his emotions rather than with words. A quiet laugh of happiness passes his lips as he rests his forehead against Colin's and luxuriates in their closeness, arms wrapped around him. "I hope that is the first of many," he says softly. Colin said that he isn't always clear about how he's feeling so he wants to be sure there are no misunderstandings about his intentions here. This isn't, he hopes, a one-time deal.

When he does come up for air, Colin sways a little. For some time, he always thought those old cartoons where a kiss from someone made a guy all dizzy and goofy was a myth. He's discounting that myth with this moment, not even the manical musical ministrations of the villanous violin vixen Virtuoso ever made his knees feel this weak. The shorter guy leans into Tiago's arm. "It will be," he promises, finally breaking his silence. "I just…well, there's dinner tonight. I didn't make plans." He planned dinner, at least. Rose might have reminded him to organize his movie collection if he hadn't told her not to interfere. Silly Colin.

Tiago's smile brightens and a contented sigh passes his lips when Colin affirms that this isn't the beginning and end of their relationship. And since Colin has made it clear that he was happy with the kiss and is happy to receive more, Tiago leans in for another. No time like the present, after all, and now that he's started he really doesn't want to stop. It;s difficult to kiss while his smile muscles are so eager to exercise themselves but he's a brave little soldier so he does his best. When they part, the glints in his eyes are practically dancing with happiness. "Do not worry. I do not mind what we do tonight. So long as I am with you, I am happy." His smile turns to a grin as he glances across at the lovely dinner Colin worked so hard on. "I do not know how I am going to eat now though. You have filled my tummy with butterflies." …He means that in a nice way.

"I can wrap it for later," Colin admits, looking over his shoulder at the dinner spread. "It won't go to waste in any instance." He's big on the 'no waste' thing, and he did like dinner. "We can watch a movie, whatever you want. Most of my movies are on digital files, so I don't use DVD's." Plastic and all. "I can bring the wine, or some coffee. Something quiet?"

"Are you sure? You went to so much trouble…" Tiago looks worriedly at Colin, concerned that he might have offended him by not wanting to eat just now, but he's not going to argue too much. There's no way he's going to be able to eat while he's this excited, especially since all his instincts are screaming at him to focus on nothing but the man in his arms. "Movie and wine would be nice," he says with a soft smile. "Something quiet or… anything you like." He leans in for another kiss. It's probably fairly obvious that it doesn't matter what film Colin picks out for them, Tiago eyes are more likely to be on him than the screen. He's been holding back just in case his advances were unwanted but he doesn't have to do that anymore and he intends to revel in that newfound freedom.

Indeed, said advances were not unwanted, but this is Colin. Sometimes, he needs to have the obvious pointed out to him, despite his intelligence. His IQ doesn't prepare him for feelings and dealing with other people on an interpersonal level, and he /knows/ it. This is why he's been so careful, though eager to renew the kissing. The wine and glasses are gathered, and a low-key movie is selected. Colin's seen it a few times, but he's more into relaxing with his company than the film itself. The wine goes to his head a little, and at the end ends up dozing quietly, eyes closed.

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