The first time he really has cause to notice Novak (and by "notice", he means take notice, stop dead, and murmur "Huh" in a way that makes the people sitting with him look over with speculation, consideration, or outright mocking because they know his radar's been pinged, and the show's about to start) they're eating breakfast in the mess, and she's one table up and one over, minding her own business.
Possibly because she's attempting to build the breakfast food version of the mountain from Close Encounters.
"Hey, Major," Ruiz asks, nudging his elbow into Lorne's side. "Are you seeing this?"
Lorne nods dumbly as he leans left, trying to keep a line of sight as a group of biochemists exits. From what he can tell, the whole mountain started with flapjacks -- or the traditional Athosian close-to-buckwheat steamed grain cakes that have become a favourite on Atlantis during the last year -- then fruit (he can see the bright red of the pika berries peeking out from between the cakes) and something he'll just leave to imagination -- and now she's carefully plastering the sides of the structure with hash browns.
He's struck with an idea, and before he can second guess, Lorne's crossing the room towards Novak's table, a small container in his hand. Her head jerks up, startled, when he sits down opposite.
"Oh. Hi," she says nervously, the fork she's been sculpting with dangling from her fingers. "Did you need something, Major, uh --"?
"Lorne." He goes for confident and reassuring, but he's starting to wonder just what in hell got into his not-coffee this morning for him to attempt this stunt. They've only spoken a few times, he and Novak, and never in such casual manner. She must think he's insane, showing up like this, and he's starting to wonder too.
Holding up the container, Lorne smiles widely, "Thought you could use this."
Novak's face lights up. "Syrup!"
She starts pouring it as soon as he hands it over; a thick, deep pink liquid covers the concoction and it reminds him of very scary spun candy. But then becomes he's distracted as Novak catches a drip from the spout on the end of her index finger and pulls it into her mouth, licking it clean with a happy sound.
Lorne watches her, a little disbelieving that she has absolutely no idea what that looks like.
"Mmm. It's a little like boysenberry. Good idea, Major!"
Now it's his turn to stammer. "Uh, yeah. Um, I've got to --" Jerking his thumb over his shoulder, he hopes that she'll ignore the fact that he's acting like a total moron and just accept that he's got duties to execute.
"Oh! I understand," she answers, a pleasant smile on her face. She almost waves him off even, already back to surveying her masterpiece of breakfast engineering. "Thanks again."
He nods once, and walks away, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his BDUs, secure in the knowledge that he'll never be able to not-notice Dr. Novak ever again. Then again, that might not be such a bad thing after all.
Lindsey had always done well at math and science, but it wasn't until she saw Real Genius at the age of fifteen that she actually got serious about it. She loved that things she was actually good at could produce lasers and freeze dorms and blow up a house with popcorn. Or, as she explained to her best friend, that all appealed to her a lot more than say, racing across the country trying to avert thermonuclear war because some computer had gotten lonely.
Besides, if there were guys like Chris Knight in her future, she was so there.
Lindsey worked hard and did well, and though she recognized she was a little more awkward than some of her classmates, she was still in the 90th percentile of normality in her university department. She could prove it -- she'd done the numbers. And then, after several boring jobs and several more boring boyfriends, Lindsey Novak heard a knock on her lab door one day, and two men in all-too-familiar blue uniforms walked in.
And that, as she told her father, was that. He'd just patted her on the head (even though she was a grown woman with multiple degrees and a Treasure Drawer) and said he was proud of her. Then her brother Bobby had challenged her to a beer chugging contest, and well, it ended up as a fairly normal Novak Family Thanksgiving.
But, in the back of her mind, Lindsey was still on the look out for the Chris Knight of her teenage fantasies -- smart and cute and oh so willing to say and do things to her that'd make her blush. Lindsey thought that her odds would increase exponentially once she started work with the Air Force, but was sorely disappointed.
She did meet an awfully nice little grey alien, though.
And then one day, he walked in, and Lindsey barely had time to catch his name and rank -- Lorne, Major -- before she was out the door, in Atlantis, handed some rather ill-fitting gear, and shoved out a stargate.
The next twelve hours were a blur, but by the time they 'gated home later that day, Lindsey was sure of three things. Sgts. Ruiz and Taylor possibly deserved to be in Levenworth -- or working for the OCB; MXP-421 had impressive tech, but it was covered in corrosive goo; and that while Major Lorne was pretty much nothing like Chris Knight, she could fall for him anyway.
It drives Lorne crazy how she does that. Two steps -- that's all it would take with those legs of hers -- to make it around the console so she could look properly at what Hermiod is showing her, but she doesn't do it. Instead, Novak leans over the console and starts pushing buttons and chattering rapidly, completely unaware or uncaring that her ass is sticking up in the middle of Daedelus' Engineering section, for God and country to see.
And how she manages to read upside-down Asgard in the first place is beyond him.
He can't be blamed for staring. Really. It's there, and he hasn't had any company outside of his right hand in longer than he can remember, and it's all too easy to imagine what Novak would feel like around him -- soft and warm and hot, the curve of her body fitting his. Or the way he wouldn't be able to keep from ghosting his hand down her side, marveling at the curve of her waist, her hip; and how Lindsey would smell when he buried his nose into the crook of her neck and shoulder, how she'd taste as he kissed her there, his rhythm breaking.
They are images entirely too vivid for his comfort, so when Novak turns around just as Lorne brings his breathing under control, it's all he can do not to shut his eyes, click his heels, and wish for Kansas. Hermiod can be Toto, for all he cares.
Ultimately, Lorne's more than grateful that he's standing behind yet another console. He just hopes she doesn't come to bend over this one, too.
"Major? You look a little green."
He waves his hand, trying to dismiss any concern. "Nothing. Bad batch of Jell-O in the mess this morning."
"Okay," she says, sounding completely unconvinced. Damn geniuses. And then she leans over Hermiod's console again, and he swears to all that's holy, wiggles.
Fuck. This has gone on long enough for the both of them -- clearly, as they are both going insane.
They are so having a talk about appropriate behavior later. In his quarters.