"This is a very, very nice restaurant," Melissa said. She stared at the fork. "I feel very out of place."
"You look gorgeous," Chris assured her. He unfolded the napkin and placed it in his lap, every bit as comfortable as John had ever seen him.
"That's not what I meant. I meant are they going to take me out back if I use the wrong fork?" Melissa asked. She tapped the salad fork. "This is dessert, right?"
"That's salad," Chris said. John hid his smile behind a cough. Not that he knew which fork was which. That's why Chris was there. "Relax. Nobody is going to take you out back."
Melissa pursed her lips and sat back in her chair. Her heels were killing her, and she surreptitiously toed them off under the table cloth. "So this is a date."
John and Chris both flushed, pinking right over the crest of their cheekbones, and Melissa grinned. "It is! Oh my god. You both took me on a date. Wait. You both took me on a date. Does this mean- What does this mean?"
Chris looked at her, and then caught John's eye. With Melissa watching, he reached across the table and took John's hand in his.
"Oh my god." Melissa clenched her hands in her lap. Chris extended his other hand to her, laying it palm up on the table, waiting patiently. "Oh my god."
She gripped the edge of the table. Chris smiled reassuringly. "You understand that I can't even handle one man, right?"
"You can handle us, Melissa," John said. He laughed, and placed his hand on the table on her other side. Round tables. Right.
She glanced between the two strongest, bravest, kindest men she had ever known, and reached for each of their hands. She slid her palms against both of theirs, and was rewarded with both men smiling warmly at her. She felt warm to her core, and squeezed their hands. "We have to talk about this."
"Food first. You didn't run screaming, so I'll take that as a small victory," Chris said. He was the brains behind this, apparently. This... thing that they were sharing. "We can talk about it later."
"Food is good. I like food," Melissa said. The conversation turned on lighter topics as the food was placed on their table. Melissa felt comfortable with them, in a way she hadn't felt in a long time. It was wonderful.
And then something huge and fleshy smashed into the centre of their table. Melissa jerked backwards and tipped her chair over in her haste to get away, and when she righted herself, she froze in place. A huge, beefy humanoid thing with grey mottled skin was staring her right in the eye. She didnt breathe.
Chris unloaded a full clip into it, followed shortly by John, and the creature whirled on them, completely forgetting about Melissa. She scrambled away from the scuffle, pausing just long enough to snatch her heels from the debris, and got to her feet. She started shoving at people who had paused to stare in horror at the battle. "Get moving! Get out of here. Do you want to get crushed? Go!"
The people responded to the authority in her voice, and started turning, moving for the exits. Melissa circled the- troll?- thing, keeping innocent people out of the way of its massive feet. John finally killed it, with a bullet between the eyes, and they both moved to her side, one on each arm.
"I'm okay," she said. She held up her shoes. "These are not, though. They were uncomfortable."
John leaned in and pressed his forehead to her hair with a sharp, relieved laugh. Melissa leaned into his warmth. Chris touched the small of her back, and they heard sirens in the distance. Melissa groaned. "It is my night off. I don't want to deal with this."
"Take her to the car. I'll handle the department," John said. "I'll meet you there in ten."
Chris nodded, and Melissa trudged after him, avoiding shards of glass and broken ceramic on their way out. Chris paused at the door to the parking lot. "Do you want a lift?"
Melissa cocked an eyebrow at him. He was completely serious. He was also an incredibly ripped hunter type. Type that she would love to feel his muscles shifting. Quickest decision ever.
She put both hands on his shoulders and hopped onto his back. He caught her under the knees and started forward as if she weighed nothing. She resisted the urge to punch the air in glee. "I'd say thank you but I'm really having too much fun."
"Don't mention it," Chris said. "It's as much fun for me, trust me."
They tumbled into Chris' SUV, laughing, and Melissa sprawled on the floor with Chris on top of her for longer than was probably prudent. She traced her finger down the folds of his shirt, and he just stared at her, letting her touch him. She felt the weight of his trust, and had to breathe past it.
"Were you a horse in a previous life?" she asked. Nailed it.
Chris burst out laughing, pressing his face to one of the car seats to steady himself. Melissa joined in, embarassed by her lack of filter, and so utterly comfortable with him.
"Okay you delinquents." John approached the SUV, his hands in his pockets. His suit jacket hung in the crook of one elbow. "Let's get this show on the road."
"I didn't get to finish my dinner." Melissa pouted. She pushed Chris off and sat up. Chris glanced at his watch.
"Everything else is closed," he said.
"There's a pizza place down the street that has late hours," John said. "The college kids satisfy their munchies there on Thursdays. They're not awful."
"Okay," Melissa said. "As long as we're going together."
"Of course," Chris said. He shared a warm look between them. "Together."