Dana can't help it; she stops abruptly just before they get to the door of the restaurant. She bites her lip nervously and turns to Kelsey. "You're sure I'm not wearing too much make-up?" she asks worriedly.
"Dana..." Kelsey sighs, wrapping an arm around Dana's shoulders.
"Maybe I should have gone with the blue dress instead." She gives Kelsey a hopeful grin. "It's not too late to go back and change, right?"
Kelsey rolls her eyes. "You look awesome Dana. Stop worrying."
"We're going in there now," says Kelsey firmly. She grips Dana's shoulders in her hands, and spins her to face the restaurant. "Let's go." She pushes and Dana's forced to start walking or fall over.
The restaurant they'd settled on was a nice one. Classy, but not too formal. The lighting is a little lower than Dana likes, but there's a hostess. Kelsey gives her a warm, if slightly strained, grin. "Hi, we're here for Cooper, party of four?"
The hostess checks her list and nods. "Ah yes, this way please," she says, picking up a couple of menus and walking into the eating area. She starts listing the specials, but Dana stops listening when she notices that the table they're heading towards already has two people seated. Nancy and a beautiful blonde woman.
Nancy gives them a bright grin once she spies them coming. Kelsey waves enthusiastically and Dana manages a smile. Her stomach is churning and she wonders just how she's going to be able to keep anything down.
The hostess places the menus on the table at the two empty place settings across from Nancy and her friend. Kelsey slides into the seat across from Nancy quickly. Dana smiles nervously at the blonde and sits down. "And if you need anything else, just let me know," says the hostess. "Your server Andrea will be along shortly."
"Thanks Charlotte," Nancy says. Charlotte nods and leaves, pausing at a different table to check up on the diners. Nancy turns to Dana and Kelsey. "So, I guess introductions are in order," she says. She gestures to the blonde. "This is my old friend Taylor Earhardt. Taylor, this is Kelsey Winslow and Dana Mitchell."
"It's so great to meet you," says Kelsey enthusiastically, reaching across the table to shake Taylor's hand. "Nancy's told me a lot about you."
Taylor raises an eyebrow. "Did she at least tell you where she's hiding the negatives?" she says wryly, smirking.
Dana giggles, feeling her stomach's fluttering ease a bit. It picks right back up again when Taylor grins at her and holds out her hand. "Hi," Dana says, feeling a bit shy. She shakes Taylor's hand.
"Nice to meet you," says Taylor. She sits back and picks up the menu. "So, any of you guys ever eaten here before?"
Nancy shakes her head. "We thought it would be a fun experience if it was a place that no one had been to before."
"So if it's bad, we're all going to suffer together," says Taylor teasingly.
Nancy shoves her lightly. "Like you'd notice. I've seen the foods you can eat without flinching."
"The goldfish was a dare," Taylor says to Dana with a sigh. "No matter what this girl says."
"And MREs are better than that freaky dried out space food of yours," Taylor smirks at Nancy.
Nancy rolls her eyes. "Not all of it is dried out. Some of it comes in tubes."
Kelsey laughs. "Well, I'm getting the spaghetti," she says. "What about you, Dana?"
"Um..." Dana scans over the menu quickly. "Maybe the salmon?"
"Chicken salad looks good," says Nancy.
Taylor presses her lips together in thought. Dana gets so distracted staring at those lips that she jumps when the waitress starts talking. "How are you all doing tonight?" asks Andrea. "Are you ready to order?"
"I think so," says Nancy, glancing around the table. "I'll have the chicken salad."
Andrea nods, and looks to Kelsey, who orders her spaghetti and then to Dana. Dana changes her mind at the last second and orders the steak. When Andrea turns her attention to Taylor, Dana follows her gaze and is surprised to see Taylor watching her. Taylor looks away from Dana and up at Andrea. "I'll have the salmon." Andrea grabs drink orders and then heads off to place the food orders.
Taylor leans forward and smiles at Dana. "Hey, the steak sounds good too," she says, "Want to share a few bites? This way you can still try the salmon."
Dana smiles. "Okay."
"I thought you were a pilot," Kelsey says to Taylor.
Taylor blinks, forehead wrinkling. "I am."
"But you eat MREs?"
Taylor's expression clears with understanding. "Oh. Yeah, I'm Air Force. Just made Captain last month," she says, grinning proudly.
"That's awesome," says Dana. "Is your base in the area?"
Taylor nods. "The U.A. base near Angel Grove," she says. She pauses while Andrea comes by to hand out drinks and then continues. "Nancy says you guys do rescue?"
"I'm Search and Rescue," said Kelsey. "Mostly ground based, but I'm best in the mountains."
Dana hastily swallows her mouthful of Coke when she realizes Taylor's waiting for her answer. "Paramedic," she says. "But I'm also studying to be a doctor."
"Wow, that's cool."
"And that's on top of our work with Operation Lightspeed Rescue," says Kelsey, grinning.
"Wow," says Taylor, sitting back. "And you guys still have time to hang out?"
Dana shrugs. "Well, it's not like there's a demon attack every night."
"And thank goodness for that," says Nancy, raising her glass in a small toast. She takes a sip.
"Oh hey," Kelsey says, nudging Dana. "Have you heard from Steve's lawyer yet?"
Dana shakes her head. "Not yet, but it's still early. He's only just had the initial set up started."
"Who's Steve?" asks Nancy.
"He's a bank robber that Dana stopped," says Kelsey.
Dana rolls her eyes. "You make it sound like I stopped him mid-robbery," she says in exasperation. "He'd robbed a bank and wound up getting on the same bus I was taking. He tried to hijack it during a demon attack. I got the gun away from him, but the driver got injured during the earthquakes. Steve was the one that drove the bus to safety. And so I'm showing up at his trial, along with the rest of the people on the bus, to put in a good word for him. He might not get as harsh of a sentence that way."
Taylor stares at her with wide eyes. "Wow," she says slowly. "So, you're a paramedic, an almost doctor and you're a fighter?"
"Dana grew up in the Lightspeed Rescue program," says Kelsey proudly. "She's one of the best fighters I've ever seen."
Taylor raises an inquisitive eyebrow at Dana. Dana shrugs, feeling her cheeks heat up slightly. "My dad runs the whole operation."
"Impressive," says Taylor, smiling slowly.
Andrea brings out the entrees and they spend a quiet few minutes eating. The rest of dinner goes just as smoothly, with conversation flowing to lighter topics. Dana finds herself laughing at a lot of Taylor's jokes. They share a few bites of each other's meals, but it's pretty innocent, just sectioning off bits of food and moving them to each other's plates.
Dana does think about offering a bite directly from her fork, or even taking a bite off Taylor's fork. But she feels entirely too shy to attempt it. She thinks it's pathetically funny; she can face off against a group of Batlings, but one pretty girl has her all tied up in knots.
Dinner ends sooner than Dana would like and soon they're all gathered outside the restaurant. Nancy takes a deep breath, stretching and then resting an arm across Kelsey's shoulders. "So? Movie?"
Taylor smiles regretfully. "I swear, I'm not just saying this," she starts, "but I'm exhausted. I had a couple of transatlantic missions before coming here and I'm still jet lagged."
"Aw..." Kelsey pouts at her. "We could always go for a loud movie." The rest of them chuckle, even as Taylor shakes her head, smiling wistfully at Dana.
Dana hesitates for a second before giving herself a mental kick in the ass. She's a Power Ranger, damn it. She can do this. "Well, if you two still want to go out, I can drive Taylor home," she says.
"Great!" says Kelsey. She starts fishing through her purse for the keys.
Nancy smiles brightly and nudges Taylor. "Sound good to you?"
Taylor nods. Kelsey lets out a small cheer and holds up the keys triumphantly. She tosses them to Dana. "Have fun, you guys!"
Dana feels her cheeks warm up, and Taylor rolls her eyes. "See you tomorrow, Nancy?"
"Count on it," Nancy replies.
"We're parked this way," says Dana, leading the way to their car. It's nothing special, just a standard issue Lightspeed Rescue car. Taylor makes a small noise of disappointment when she sees it. Dana looks at her curiously.
Taylor shrugs. "I was half expecting the Power Ranger's jeep," she says.
"Ohh..." says Dana in comprehension. She grins at Taylor. "Only for official Ranger business."
Taylor laughs as she climbs into the passenger seat. "Gotcha."
The ride to Taylor's hotel is mostly quiet, except for Taylor's quiet directions. Dana spends most of that silence desperately racking her brain for things to talk about. She's a few seconds away from resorting to asking for Taylor's favourite colour when she sees the turn in for the hotel's parking lot.
She slips the car into park and looks over at Taylor, chewing at her lip. Taylor laughs softly and shakes her head. She smiles at Dana. "I really am tired," she says, "or I would totally ask you up to my room."
"O-oh, um." Dana still can't think of anything to say and from the heat in her cheeks, she's sure she's blushing redder than Carter's shirt.
Taylor shifts in her seat until she's facing Dana. "Okay, I like you," she says bluntly. "You're pretty, smart and sweet. So, how about this?" She holds up a napkin from the restaurant. Dana just make out numbers in the dim parking lot lighting. "This is my room's number. I'm here for the next two weeks. Call me?"
Dana smiles, feeling a warm tingle in the pit of her stomach. "Okay," she says, taking the napkin and tucking it into her purse.
Taylor smiles back and leans forward. Dana realizes what's about to happen and finds herself holding her breath in anticipation. Taylor's lips are warm. The kiss is short, but it still makes Dana's entire body tingle. "Night," says Taylor softly, slipping out of the car.
"Night," says Dana, grinning broadly. She watches Taylor enter the hotel and then flops back into her seat to just bask in the moment for a bit. Wow. Best date ever.