“Fuck you Martinez! You’re just not educated enough to understand the absolute beauty that is the tomato!”
Mitch Henderson lets out a deep sigh and pinches the bridge of his nose.
Chris can’t help but lean back slightly in a futile attempt to see through the double doors and into the room beyond. Obviously the rest of his team must be in that room and Chris is slightly anxious to meet the person that can work himself into a frenzy based on someone not sharing his level of appreciation for tomatoes.
And that’s what it is now, a frenzy. Based on the mutterings streaming out into the corridor and the escalating pitch of his voice this guy has a serious hard on for vegetation.
“NO MARTINEZ tomatoes are NOT a vegetable. They are a FRUIT. They are the ONLY fruit that should be found anywhere on a pizza. I’m looking at you Johanssen and your freaky compulsion to ruin near perfection with pineapple.”
Shit. It seems he’s missed some quality team bonding by arriving two weeks late.
“I promise you Doctor Beck it’s not as much of a mad house as it sounds right now. Your teammates are actually some of the foremost leaders in their respective fields an-” But Chris would never hear the end of that sentence because at that very moment the double doors swung outwards and Chris finds himself face to face with a tall man clutching a tomato plant to his chest.
The stranger stops quite suddenly which causes his glasses to begin sliding down his nose.
“Ummm…did anyone order a male stripper? Lewis? Johanssen? Vogel?” Chis can actually feel the blush spread across his face and down his neck, he didn’t even think that was possible.
“Watney!” Apparently the man stood before him is Mark Watney, botanist and fellow crew member of the Ares 3 mission.
Henderson continues: “This is Doctor Chris Beck.”
A wide smile spread over Mark’s, if Chris were being completely honest with himself, handsome face and he quickly switches his hold on the pot to one hand in order to reach the other out in a handshake.
“Wow, incredibly gorgeous and a doctor to boot, I have to say this mission is looking better and better from where I’m standing!”
And yep, just when he had thought the blush had been beaten into submission it rears back to life with a vengeance.
There’s two ways he can play this, Chris thinks quickly to himself. He can keep a straight face, greet his teammate and move on to the others. Short, quick, professional. Or he could do this.
Chris quickly reaches out, grabs Mark’s hand and pulls him flush up against his chest, being careful to nudge the plant to the side so it doesn’t get squashed.
He brings his lips right up to Mark’s right ear and wets his lips before speaking softly yet loud enough for the others to hear, “Did you know tomatoes are the official state fruit of Ohio?”
He leans back so his gaze can meet Mark’s and he’s not disappointed by what he sees.
It almost looks as if a spark has been ignited in his eyes and his hand, the hand that is still holding Beck’s, squeezes just a little bit tighter.
Mark’s grin gets that fraction brighter and Chris can’t help but meet it.
“Oh God”, he hears murmured from behind Mark, “there’s two of them.”
Henderson breaks the moment. “Crew this is Chris Beck, the final member of Ares 3.”
Mark lets go of his hand and moves to Chris’ side, if he so happens to place his hand on Chris’ lower back then so be it, Chris is certainly not going to move it.
“Actually it’s Doctor Chris Beck team and I call bunk mate.”
Surprisingly the only emotion that greets Chris after hearing Mark’s claim is excitement, and perhaps a spark of impatience. He can’t help hoping the bunk mate thing comes into effect immediately.