"Yeah? No, Marv." He nudges Marvin aside, kicks the door shut, and sets the grocery bags on the counter.
"So what do people do on Valentine's Day if they're not in a relationship?" Quorra asks. She sniffs and yanks a tissue out of the box on the coffee table, blows into it and crumples it before tossing it into the wastebasket next to her feet. "What are they supposed to do tomorrow?"
Sam leans back to see if the TV is on. It is and it's currently running an ad for diamond earrings from Kay Jewelers. He glances at the miserable-looking ISO as he takes a container of chicken noodle soup and a beef bone out of one of the bags.
"Well, I never paid too much attention to Valentine's Day," he says slowly. He pulls a drawer open and picks through the silverware for a spoon. "But when I was little Dad would take me to the flower shop to pick roses for Grandma and...and Mom. It's not just between couples; it's just marketed that way."
He sets the bone on the floor and Marvin clamps his jaws down on it, settles on the linoleum and starts gnawing on it. Grabbing a sandwich from the other grocery bag, he carries their dinner to the living room, hands Quorra the container and spoon before sitting down on the couch next to her. He pushes aside the pile of empty juice boxes, looking for the remote.
"I hate being sick," Quorra grumbles.
"I can tell."
"How come you aren't sick? Everyone in programming's coughing and you're not."
Sam finds the remote in the folds of the blanket wrapped tightly around the ISO and starts flipping channels. "That's 'cause I'm Superman."
"I hate you."
He chuckles and elbows her, tosses her a few napkins when she ends up splashing soup on her hand.
There's nothing on TV so he leaves it on the Discovery Channel and unwraps the sandwich, bites into it while watching Paul Sr. discuss the specs of his latest custom bike. Quorra's not nearly as interested in American Chopper as he is but he's not the one jumping up on the couch and shrieking every time the Mythbusters crew blows up a cement truck.
During a promo for Dirty Jobs Quorra asks, "So am I supposed to get you something tomorrow?"
He chokes on pickled carrot and pork, swallows hard, and then looks at her with a raised eyebrow. "What?"
"Well you said it's not just between couples." She scoops up a piece of chicken and studies it. "And, well, you're my friend. My only friend." She lowers the spoon and stares at the container in her hands. "You've done so much for me. I don't know how to pay you back."
Sam sets his sandwich on the table and places his hand on her shoulder. "Hey, look at me."
She does, is clearly stressed about this.
"Don't worry about it," he says, articulating each word with care. "It's what friends do. And I'm the one who owes you, for keeping my dad company while he was...while he was stuck there." He presses his fingers together, keeps them from straying up to the microchip resting on his collarbone under his shirt. "No stress, Q. It's not good for your health."
She smiles then, and then turns and coughs into her elbow. He lets his hand slide off her shoulder and sits back on the couch, waits for her to regain her composure.
"I still hate you," she says.
"Yeah, I know."
Half a sandwich sits on the table. Sam wraps it up and rises to his feet to stash it in the fridge with the rest of the groceries.
"You know what we should do tomorrow?" Quorra says.
She pitches her voice higher over running water as he fills a glass at the sink. "We should have dinner at a restaurant. Nowhere fancy or anything, just somewhere nice. Different."
"Got a place in mind?"
She shrugs. "I'd ask around but I don't want people getting the wrong ideas."
He nods absentmindedly, drains the glass and sets it on the counter. He glances at his keys and then at the clock on the microwave, calculating how much time he should spend at the arcade before coming back.
"Still haven't found anything yet?" Quorra asks. She knows that look on his face, knows exactly what he's going to do for the next two hours.
"It's gotta be there somewhere," he says. "I don't know where else he'd keep them."
"What if you don't find anything?"
"Dad may be a genius but he knows when to take notes. Have you seen his maps of the Grid? He knew what he was doing. The information has to be in that room."
Quorra sighs and sets the empty soup container and spoon on the table, slumps down on the couch and turns the remote over in her hands while he pulls on his jacket. "Sam?"
"So tomorrow-" She grabs another tissue and blows into it. "Tomorrow, don't go to the arcade. Let's go watch a movie or something."
She doesn't say it but Sam knows exactly what she means. Take a break, stop obsessing over how I'm supposed to change the world. Let's have some fun.
"Yeah, all right." He swipes the keys off the counter and walks to the door. "How about the Santa Monica Pier?"
"Can we ride the Ferris Wheel?"
He grins at the absolutely gleeful look on her face.
"Sure. Don't stay up; it’s not good for your health. You want to get better, don’t you?"
Sam laughs as she rolls her eyes and halfheartedly throws her used tissue at him. He locks the door behind him and walks down the hall to the elevator.