"Dave, come on! What are you waiting for?"
He's staring up at the apartment building, eyes searching each window under his shades like if he concentrates hard enough he can see what's in there past the curtains. It's an older building, red brick and gorgeous, not at all like the cement and glass monstrosities he was used to down in Texas. It's sort of quaint and if he focuses he thinks maybe he can spell "hipster" with the lines of mortar between the bricks.
It isn't so bad, really.
He looks down at her, Jade having stopped on the steps up to the entrance and now blinking at him curiously, her exuberance (only momentarily) replaced with wide, careful, searching eyes. She's wearing a long skirt today, swore she wouldn't, "I can't see it being too useful on all those stairs!", but she's wearing it anyway, and she's cute in it, kind of nerdy, still the dorky science chick he met nearly eight years ago now. Back then she said "hi dave youre late!!" and shoved a frog in his face.
Today she sees his quiet, unlike him, really, and moves to join him, her smile belying her uncertainty as to whether she should be concerned.
"Jade, you sure you want to do this?"
Dave lifts his head again, studying the building one more time.
"Well, of course! I mean, we've talked about this kind of a lot, haven't we?"
He doesn't say anything. He just keeps looking anywhere but her, very quiet indeed. But he feels her take his hand, sees her look up at him in his peripheral vision with that expression on her face, and knows what she's about to say before she says it.
"It's cool. Come on, let's go in. If we keep the agent waiting one more time she's going to set her attack poodle on me."
Her smile is instinctive, and she lets the issue rest as they walk up the stairs together and into the apartment building. It's as quaint inside as out, at least if they politely pretend to ignore the paint peeling in the corners and the slight discolorations here and there. At least, Jade does the polite ignoring, Dave just applies his complete apathy in broad swathes to the entire shebang, and it works out. Jade stomps on his foot once when the agent asks him a question and all he does is minutely, almost invisibly raise a brow over his shades, and the grunt of pain and accompanying surprised grimace is the most emotion he's given anything all goddamn day. That it makes her crack up laughing just dumps the salt on his wounded pride, but at least the look on the agent's face is sort of kind of vaguely worth it for the limp he's got going for the next two flights of stairs.
There is a silence, and a pause. Not a short amount of time, just a bland, unimportant piece of it where they absorb facts and figures, Jade more attentive as always, leaving Dave to pick up on the things she doesn't hear or doesn't see. Or in this case, to keep thinking in that quiet way that he has been all day, and it's still strange and Jade, being Jade, still notices. And she waits, patiently, very patiently.
"With me?" Thirty minutes later, and at first Jade has no idea what he's talking about. When she pauses, looks away from the window and back at him, and he's inspecting the ceiling, apparently, his head tilted back just a fraction. But then he looks down at her -- "looks," it'd he hard to tell if she couldn't almost feel his eyes meet hers -- and lifts his eyebrows, and she understands at all at once.
With a sigh she moves over to him, giving him an almost huffy look before she reaches up and takes his shades off. He makes a face, a small frown and a bare hint of movement around his eyes, but nothing much besides, typical Strider stoicism, and he lets her do it. What, have you ever tried to take your glasses out of Jade Harley's hand? Sometimes he still thinks he can feel his skin sting from how hard she slapped him away. Jesus, girl is stronger than she looks.
Of course, he knew that. Dave's pretty much always known that.
"Dave," she says, "that's the stupidest question anyone ever asked me!"
Her face is such a perfect mimic of those little line-face emotes she uses in pesterchum that he would laugh, if he ever laughed, and if he wasn't busy being indignant, which on a Strider only means a vague shift in the arch of his brows. He's about to start in, something about phones and holding and backing the fuck up and horses, this long-winded blown out metaphor that would have been totally sweet and taken like two solid minutes to explain, but then she takes his face in her hands and shuts him up with a solid, reproachful kiss.
Only Jade could make a kiss reproachful, he thinks as he shuts his eyes and winds a hand into her hair.
They separate when they hear footsteps, and the agent returns, with her tiny dog and her perfectly hair-sprayed updo that stays eerily perfectly still and solid no matter how much she twitches her head in these rapid, bird-like little motions. Woman's had too much coffee. Jade seems to agree with his unspoken thought, if the quirked up, trying-not-to-laugh smile on her lips is any indication.
Or maybe it's him she's laughing at. She takes his hand, squeezes it, tells him silently:
Dave, I wouldn't be here if I didn't want to be! Buying a place and all is kiiiiind of permanent, silly. I want to do it. Together.
All that, without a word, with only a glance and a smile and a shift of grip on his hand. He sighs, leans over and presses his face into her hair and breathes out into it. Murmurs something she can't hear, nonsense words he doesn't try to make sense out of, and smiles. Just a little, just a bit. Just for her.