With hand on hip, and still wearing the white dress that Hillary gave her, Lara Croft confronted her early afternoon guest right in the main doorway of Croft mansion. "Alex West. What are you doing here?"
"Hey, Lara. I believe you owe me," he said cheekily.
Lara rolled her eyes. "What are you talking about now?"
"Well, there's the fifty bucks because the triangle piece was inside the sun. Also, I didn't get paid, as my employer happened to meet his untimely doom in the depths of a cave in Siberia..."
Annoyance made Lara speak before thinking. "I saved your life!" she countered, and regretted it immediately.
Alex raised an eyebrow. "When did that happen? I don't think that staying behind in that cave, while I went on ahead, equates to saving my life."
"Never mind. Forget I said that."
"Did I miss something important?"
"Nothing that concerns you." She waved it aside. Fortunately for her, Alex decided not to pursue the issue for the moment.
Lara changed the subject. "Weren't we talking about your money? I simply refuse to believe that you didn't get some amount of downpayment before you agreed to do the job."
"Ah, about that... you would be right." Alex grinned. "You win, then."
"And what is it that I have won?"
"Since you're looking very ladylike today, I'm going to take you out for dinner. Somewhere a bit formal."
"Oh? And what's in it for you?" Lara asked.
"You wound me, Croft," Alex mock groaned, putting a hand over his heart. "Is it so wrong to want to catch up with an old friend?"
"Somehow I don't believe that's it," Lara said dryly. "Actually, I was planning to stay in and continue training with SIMON."
"Ah well, have fun then." Alex's smile didn't reach his eyes. "I guess I should go."
"You should," she agreed.
"See you around, Lara." Alex turned, and walked away. He was already on the landing halfway down the front steps before he was stopped by Lara's voice.
"Alex!" she called out. "Wear a decent jacket, will you? I'll pick you up at seven."
He looked up in surprise, and saw her mischievous grin. He smiled in return; this time it was genuine. "I'll be waiting."