Steve and the Steak Dinner

Characters: Steve Rogers, Haven
Rated: PG-13 for some adult product references
Summary: // Steve and Haven do dinner//
OOC Date: 2018-01-15
IC Date: 2018-01-14
Where: Brooklyn

During wartime, there wasn't much time for fun or socializing. Troops were in the muck and mud, and those rare releases where GIs were able to spend time in rear echelons or even back home were often shadowed by the war front looming in the distance.

Steve Rogers hadn't had much opportunity to date even before enlisting, and afterwards, it was just a dreamy idea for the life away from the war— with perhaps one exception.

Still, Steve's a gentleman, and Haven had asked very politely. The ascerbic medic with the bright blue eyes had been a little forward, sure, but— it's not the 40s anymore. Nothing wrong with a dame asking a fellow out.

Hair combed, wearing a button-down shirt and slacks, Steve takes a cab to the diner Haven had suggested, arriving a few minutes early as per his usual habit. He heads into the restaurant and speaks with the maitre'd, and then is escorted to the table.

Well, this dame is certainly a modern sort of woman - she's probably a little more blunt and vulgar than the ladies Steve may be used to. But then again, most ladies weren't in the muck and mud of the trenches. Even if she wasn't an infantry, Haven was definitely a soldier, and one run without the R&R of most.

Still, she had asked, more to watch him look confused than because she expected him to say yes. After all, she had sort of taken a swipe at him, with claws exposed. But she'd liked him, the passion in him, the fact he still believed after everything he'd been through. She was hopeful maybe there was a secret to it she might learn.

Blonde hair has been done in classic 40's hollywood waves, a style Steve would be familiar with, those even and perfect ripples leading down to where it curled under at the ends. After extensive debate of everything in her closet, Haven had tossed up her hands, and taken a tip from a neighbor for the boutique down the street. She'd been amused to find out it was a vintage boutique, after walking in. The black peacoat is still a classic, but it's the deep red 'wiggle' dress underneath that may surprise her date, paired with matching heels and a large black clutch. There's small silver hoops, and a necklace that dangles a sparkly pendant, and her nails have been painted with clear polish. Eyes are touched with a sheer golden sparkle, with the usual liner and mascara, lips have been tinted red. She's gone all out, it seems. "Mister Rogers." She will greet him as she reaches the table. "Funny, I know I'm not late."

Steve rises politely when Haven arrives, his eyes widening. He doesn't whistle— but his approval is writ large over his features. "Wow! You look— like someone who just stepped off a Lucky Strike poster," he tells her. He offers her a squeeze of fingers in greeting, then remembers his manners. "Oh! Sorry, let me help you with your coat," he says, a little hastily.

Once she's got her things squared away, Steve moves to offer her a chair to sit in, then moves to seat himself where he'd been sitting. It's a little table in the corner, and Steve's set the chairs so they share a common corner of the table and neither have their backs to the room.

It's a military thing.

"Where'd you get that dress? I can't imagine you had something like that laying around your closet," he asks her.

Haven laughs, and it seems Steve said just the right thing. She's sliding out of her coat, giving him a look over her shoulder. She glances at the chairs, and the expression she shares with him tells him how much she appreciates his forethought about not having to have her back to the room. She never would have relaxed.

There's another chuckle, as she sets her purse aside, though still in easy reach with the clasp not actually closed. Steve can probably guess why. "Well, you see, it's maybe a shock, but I didn't have a lot in the way of dresses or dressy clothes in my closet." She'll offer him that warm, bright smile he'd glimpsed when she asked him to dinner. "My next door neighbor is a fashionable young lady, and I asked here where I could maybe find something nearby.. it's not far from my place here in Brooklyn.. and ended up being a vintage boutique.. so here I am!" A hand gestures to her dress. "I hope it doesn't bother you."

"Nope. It's perfect," Steve assures Haven. "You look better than I do, anyway. It was this or my dress greens," he says wryly. "But I found out that the Army's got a new uniform for formal wear, and they don't like us wearing our uniforms off base. I don't understand that," he admits.

"Uh, but I went to the Macy's over near Fulton. Found a suit and some slacks that fit OK. I gotta say, clothing's come a long way," he says, adjusting the neatly rolled cuff of his shirt around his forearm. "Everything we used to have was pretty rough, unless you were some rich cat wearing a silk suit."

At that point the waiter walks over, all smiling professionalism. "Good day to you, welcome to DeStefano's," he says. "What are we drinking this evening?"

Haven even flushes, just a touch, as lashes lower. "Yeah well.. I may have burned my dress greens.." She's kidding, from the wicked smile that tugs at her mouth. "These days, handsome, it's sometimes better to not be easily identified as military. Terrorists, foreign and domestic. Some people get a burr up their butt over the military, even if you're clearly not running the show."

She'll lean back, and give him a long, slow once over. "Lots of science and technology changes indeed. French Letters alone, I hear." She flashes that amused grin, because.. well, look who she's teasing. Her finger will reach out to touch the cuff. "You look great. And remember the words of Mae West, 'It's better to be looked over, than overlooked."

She'll wink at him, before she's smiling prettily for the waiter, blue eyes bright. "I'll take a red wine. Cabernet Sauvingnon, if you please." It certainly seems like she has a plan, eyes shifting over. "For you?"

Steve clears his throat at her off-the-cuff banter, surprised by her casual humor. She speaks to the waiter before Steve can respond, which buys him a few moments to recover his aplomb.

"Uh… you know, some water for me would be just fine," Steve tells the waiter.

"Yessir— cabernet sauvignon for the lady, and water for the gentleman. I'll be back in a few minutes to take your appetizer order," he says.

Steve opens the menu and boggles a bit at the prices.

He does the conversion in his head (it's still not reflex) and relaxes a little bit. A twenty-five dollar steak would be a week's wages for a blue-collar worker. "Wow. I'm not familiar with some of these cuts," he admits. "Or this beef. Steak was hard to get," he explains. "Usually it's a butcher's brother with a farm upstate. No one really worried much about the breed, well; I mean, no one /I/ knew.,"

She might be enjoying this, keeping him slightly off balance, keeping him wondering. She'll smile and thank the waiter, before she looks over at Steve. "Water, because beer and wine are pointless with you, aren't they, handsome? I can help them be pointless, but what's the fun in that?" She'll flip open the menu, casually perusing her options. "Well, for an appetizer, I'm feeling the crab cakes, or perhaps the portobello napolitano, though the short rib rolls sound interesting."

There's a turn of those blue eyes back to him, study his face before her hand will reach for his wrist. "Hey. Don't be fussing over things. Get what sounds good. You want the lamb chops with pistachio nut better stuff, go wild. I mean, I'll probably go with the New York strip, unless you want to be all cutesy and share the porterhouse, but I have to warn you, I like my meat rare."

"I don't mind drinking beer," Steve says, nodding agreement. "I'll have a pint with the fellas. It's just— y'know. I can't really get drunk, since the whole lab thing happened. Kinda takes the fun outta it," he grins.

He glances at her fingertips in surprise, then smiles at Haven. "Rare, huh? That's a risky business with steak. But I'm used to boiling almost everything," he concedes. "I'll give the New York strip a go. It sounds friendly enough."

The waiter returns with their drinks and Steve closes his menu, handing it to the fellow. "Uh.. yes, we'll start with the crab cakes and the short rib rolls?" he inquires. "The lady—" he looks to Haven for confirmation. "Will have the New York strip, cooked rare? And I'll have the New York strip as well."

"Very good sir. How tender would you like it?"

"Uh… Whatever the chef recommends," Steve says, overriding his old habits. Time to be adventurous!

"That's why I said they were pointless." Haven agrees. "I never much thought about it, really. Most guys I have been exposed to are just regular Joes." She'll laugh at his mention of it being risky. "Food regulations have come a long way too."

She'll smirk as he takes over with the waiter, folding her menu closed and handing it over as well. "Try him at medium rare, please." She'll smile at the waiter, a glance at Steve. "If you hate it, I'll get you something else." She'll promise, as she reaches for her wine for a sip.

She'll watch the waiter walk away, eyes taking in their surroundings obviously for the first time since she sat down. "So tell me something I don't know about you, handsome."

Steve sips his water and looks back at Haven, lifting a brow at her question. He chuckles once, eyes going to the table and shakes his head. "Uh… wow, that's a tough question," he admits, looking back up at her. "I thought my entire life history was written in a book or something. It's weird to find out you're the subject of a biography," he admits. Steve is, in fact, the subject of entire academic papers ranging from scientific to anthropological.

"Okay. The first time I drove a car was in 1934, in April," he says. "I was visiting a friend near Albany and he let me drive his parent's Model T around the area."

"Okay. Tell me something about /yourself/ that you think is important," he tells Haven, turning the question back to her.

She'll look at him as she sets her wine down. "It may very well be. I mean, I didn't live in a cave, exactly, so I've heard some things. But reading a book, or watching a documentary or something would have been cheating. I'm not a cheater." She'll smirk when he tells her about the car, and driving it, before it smooths out into a smile.

She'll look at him as he turns the question back on her. "This is my first actual date-date since I was in high school." She'll pause. "My boyfriend dumped me shortly after I found out what I was."

Steve's smile falters a little when he realizes he hit a nerve. "I'm— I'm sorry to hear that," he tells her. "I don't quite understand why people are so upset about metahumans," he says, shaking his head. "I think they're scared. I know we were scared when the Nazis started walking across Europe. Doesn't mean they're right," he tells Haven, quickly. "People do fool things when they're scared."

He shakes it off. "If it makes you feel better, this is the first time someone's asked me out in seventy years," he says, trying to lighten the mood with a playful bit of humor.

Haven sips at her wine, looking at him and shaking her head before she can swallow. "Oh god, stop. It's fine. You wanted to know something important. I thought it would be good for you to know I haven't asked anyone out on an actual date. Like ever." She's flushing. "Mutant, Steve. You can say it." She says it, though very quietly. "I mean, I asked someone to hang out a week ago, we got burgers and fries, but.. I didn't go get a pretty dress, or anything." Blush mode activated.

"Yeah well, you've been out of circulation a bit, handsome." She'll wink, trying to recover her own equilibrium. "Just wait. You'll be mobbed."

"Yeah, I learned about selfies the other day," Steve admits, chuckling. "My apartment's got a good doorman, he at least lies to anyone who thinks they've found my place. I got 'spotted' or whatever over on the east side a couple weeks ago and had to take photos with an entire high school class on a field trip. It's kind of like being on a USO tour show all the time. Less showgirls doing high kicks, though," he concedes, before laughing easily.

"So— you grew up around here, right?" he inquires. The waiter arrives, drops off the food, and leaves. Steve offers to serve up a few morsels to Haven.

"See, that's what you need. People looking after you." She eyes him carefully a long moment. "What's rent like, in your building? I've only got the sublease for another six weeks, I really need to get a place." She'll grin. "If you want, I'll dress up in sequins and do high kicks for you." She'll even give him a brow waggle with the comment.

"Yes please." She will move her plate to make it easier for him to split up those appetizers. Hope you're okay with a girl with a healthy appetite, Steve. "Mmhmm. Brooklyn. Mom moved to the city after she had to leave the Army, and got a gig with the U.N. with translating."

"Uh… I don't really know," Steve admits, after doling food onto his plate. "It was set up for me. I mean— they declared me legally dead," he says. "A few friends of mine came back and boxed my things up, shoved them into storage until… I don't know, until someone claimed them? I guess they forgot about it. Most of my clothes were pretty moth-eaten, but the rest survived.

"Oh, uh, anyway! It's a government rehoming thing. From what I've heard about rent around here, I'm sure it's probably more than it's worth. I might just move to Fort Hamilton, someone mentioned they have base housing for officers there."

"That's got to be hard. Coming back from the dead, I mean. You're the first guy I've asked out that can lay claim to that." There's another grin, before she's sliding her plate back her way to dig in. "Yeah, but do you want to live on a base? They're pretty strict about traffic on and off, hard to bring home the pretty girls. I.. well, even if I wasn't getting out, I couldn't do it. Did it long enough, want to have some privacy. Real locks, and a real bed, and all the stuff a girl dreams of while out on an op in a crappy spot of the world."

She chews in silence, a moment, eyes doing that room sweep again, before she's looking down at that short rib roll. "I'm looking forward to buy cookware, for the love of god." There's a hint of a smile for him. "Need to find a place, first. A job."

Steve chuckles, shaking his head a little. The waiter sweeps through, picks up their appetizers, and deposits steaks in their place. "I— it's not easy," he says, with frank honesty. "Most of my friends are gone or in retirement homes. My neighborhood's changed. Nice Korean family is living in my old apartment," he says. He cuts into his steak with his knife, and takes a cautious bite. Eyes widen in surprise at the flavor, and he chews with slow, enthusiastic approval.

"Man, that's good," he mutters. "I never would have tried a slice of meat this raw, but… wow, there's so much flavor!"

Haven will sip her wine to clear her palate before she plans to demolish that steak in short order. She may put just a tiny bit of butter over the stop of it, glancing at him. "Well, things change, but that doesn't mean you can't adapt."

She's chuckling, glancing at his nice, pink centered meat before she's cutting into hers, exposing that darker red. "I told you, food has come a long way. Places have to follow a lot more sanitary practices to stay open, so it's safe to order even rare steak. Not chicken of course, but steak." She'll slide him a thin slice of her steak, before she's tucking a bite into her mouth.

Steve accepts the slice and cuts it neatly, working with fork and knife. He's not one to go facefirst into a food trough, which is rare for a man who spent a lot of time with the infantry. Food is fuel, and eaten quickly.

"Mmm. I think the rare cut is the way to go," he agrees. He pauses, glancing at Haven, then looks at her. "Can I ask you a question?" he says. "Why /did/ you ask me out? I'm not exactly someone who's up to date on the social scene these days," he says. "And I thought most noncoms didn't care much for officers."

"See? I know that of which I speak." Haven grins, before she's taking another bite. Hands are not idle, quickly slicing up her meat and sliding him another piece. She will wash that bite down with some wine, a lift of her glass towards the waiter for a refill.

Brows will lift over her blue eyes, as she looks at him. "Full disclosure? I wanted to see if I could throw you off. Which I did." There's a small little smirk with that. "Add in the fact I was feeling a little guilty for snarling at you like I did.." She shrugs. "I don't look at ranks, really. I'm getting out of that life, remember?" She'll carefully watch her plate, forking up another bite of meat before blue eyes will meet his, and she'll deliver the next bit of her answer. "Add to the fact you're pretty damned handsome, and I'm not exactly well versed in the dating scene.. I thought we might be able to have some fun."

Steve doesn't blush, but he grins and ducks his gaze away from her intensely blue gaze. "I— well, that's… mighty kind of you," he tells Haven. "You're pretty easy on the eyes yourself."

He pushes the little slice of steak around on his plate. "Uh… if you're looking to me to be the voice of experience, I won't be much help," he says, ruefully. "I'm… it's… well, it's complicated," he says, a little flatly, and his eyes turn very distant as he loses himself in thought for a little while.

She will blush, just a bit. "Well, I put some time into this look, it's nice to know it is appreciated." Deflecting with humor, it is her go to, as if that's not obvious. She'll smile for the waiter as her wine is refilled, bu her eyes are concerned.

"Steve?" Her voice is quiet, pitched low with a note of panic in it as she reaches out to touch him. That distant look, that disconnect.. well, in her world, that's a sign of a flashback coming on like a runaway train. "Hey." Her fingers will close at his wrist. "Well, like I said, I figured both of us were sort of at sea with the whole dating thing."

Steve flickers out of his memories, looking at Haven. "Huh? Oh— sorry," he says. He's all there, the moody moment of introspection gone. It's hardly the thousand yard look of someone lost in a strange battlefield. It's more personal than that, his memories focused on something important, but bittersweet at the same time.

"I, uh… yeah. Sorry. I didn't date much before the war, y'know— I wasn't exactly a lady's man. Not like Bucky," he says, rubbing the back of his neck a little ruefully. "He could go into the soda jerk and walk out with two dates and four phone numbers in his pocket. During the war, there wasn't really— well… y'know. You find what time you can," he says, philosophically. "It's hard to sit down to a candlelight dinner in the middle of a war zone."

There is no chill in Haven, at the moment. Her breathing resumes, a whoosh of an exhale as she sits back, letting for of his wrist. "Sorry. Sorry. I.. I thought you were.. going somewhere else on me." She's a medic, she should know better than to.. She's flustered, toying with the napkin in her lap.

She looks at him when he goes on. "Well, I mean.. I'm not exactly a guy magnet. High school was all about the softball and studying. A braid was doing my hair, to me. I didn't do much in the way of makeup, or anything like that. It made me uncomfortable, when I dressed up and got treated like a different person." She looks at him a long moment. "I'd like to think I'd have still liked you. Just because you're so.. gung ho, so to speak. You've got a lot of passion in you, handsome. I'm starting to think I lost mine, somewhere in another country." She shakes her head. "No time to even use plates, sometimes, in my line of previous work."

"That's one of the other reasons I asked you to dinner, actually. After everything.. you still believe. In being able to make the difference, to fight for the innocent. I guess I'm hoping it rubs off on me some."

'Gung ho' is lost on Steve, but he follows the gist of it easily enough. He slides his plate a few inches away and rests his elbows on the table, fingers interlacing in front of his face as he listens intently to Haven's words. He gives her the compiment of listening, quietly, until she is done, then takes a few moments to frame his words carefully.

"I guess I'm an optimist," he says, finally. "I don't necessarily believe in 'America'. I believe in the American dream. The idea that we're all equal— that everyone, American or not, has a right to life and liberty and happiness. I didn't volunteer because I'm a great patriot," he admits. "And most of the Defenders didn't sign on because of national pride. We did it because— well, we can't stand bullies, plain and simple. Everyone came to the Defenders from different nations, but we worked well together because in the end, we wanted to make the world a better place. America may have lost her way a time or two, but I think the spirit is still there. That drive to do better and to be better."

Haven is still a little off her game from her mistake on his disconnect. She'll eventually leave off playing with her napkin and drain half of her refilled wine. Blue eyes look at him, study him as if she's not exactly sure she's seeing what it is she's seeing. The glass will get set down, and she'll push bits of meat around on her plate.

"I don't know if I have any optimism left in me. I don't know what's inside me, any longer. That's why I'm getting out. I need time to think, decompress. I need to know what's in here." Her fingers touch her chest. "Not just here." A touch to her temple. "I want to believe, think that things can and will get better. That good people can help them get better, for everyone. I just don't know if I'm a person that can do that. I've.. I've done things, Steve. Things you would not approve of."

Steve nods at Haven, understanding all over his features. "I get it. I really do," he assures her, heading off any objection with a gentle shake of his head and flex of his fingers. "Soldiering is an ugly business. We make hard choices under the most intense pressure possible. No one's perfect," he tells Haven.

"What matters more than making the right decision is following through when you make a bad one. Everyone makes a mistake or a bad call. It's what you do to correct from that mistake and learn from it that makes you a better person. Running from your problems doesn't work— they always catch up to you in the long run."

Haven will give a soft laugh, pushing her plate back and reaching for her wine. "Oh I don't know.. you look pretty close to perfect." There's that brow waggle again, the turn of humor to cover that moment of vulnerability.

"Oh, I own what I did. I got the job done. But the sort of things I did, they leave marks that my.. talents, can't heal. It makes me need to.. stop doing what I was doing. I need to try a different take, a new perspective." She'll sip wine. "I don't run, I face my problems. Sometimes with a knife in hand." There's a quick grin.

"So, are we ordering dessert, or do I get to have you to go?" She sometimes just can't help herself. The 'boys' have had an effect, over the years.

Steve coughs and laughs, shaking his head. He's becoming accustomed to her pointed, brazen flirtation, but it still takes him a little off-guard. "Uh… dessert would be fine," he says, dodging the question. "Someone told me they do a pretty good gelato here. I knew a fellow on 43rd, owned Pirelli's soda jerk. He kept the gelato in the back, said it was too strong for most Americans," he chuckles. "Old family recipe, or so he said. I guess his grandson moved the restaurant down to Hoboken and set up shop there. I should see if they're still open."

He looks up at the waiter when the fellow arrives. "Yeah, we'll split the gelato plate? Thanks," he says, politely.

It's easy to get accustomed to, since she doesn't generally follow it up with any moves or further innuendo. At least…not yet. "Gelato's all right. I mean, I was considering cheesecake.." Watching the waiter walk away, before eyes divert back to Steve. "Since it's not like either one of us have to watch our caloric intake." She can toy with her metabolism, after all. It's a very handy skill.

She'll put her elbow on the table, chin in hand, and study him for a long moment. "So, that mention of not being the voice of experience. That means I shouldn't ask you to come on up for a nightcap, or something?"

Steve blinks at Haven, looking at her a little blankly. "I'm sorry, I don't know what you're drivin— oh," he says, eyes widening a little bit as it catches up to him. It's hard to miss some of the subtler physiological cues on Haven's face as well. Steve's a little callow in this matter, but he's not an idiot.

"Golly," he says, rubbing his face. "I'm … Sorry. I'm not used to dames being such straight shooters." He shifts in his chair. "I'm not… I'm not THAT inexperienced," he says. "But I'm… I'm a pretty old-fashioned guy," he says. "And, uh… it's…" He toys with his napkin, looking like he wishes it was a paper one he could pluck at.

"I've only been back for six months. There was, uh… someone. Someone important, to me. We had plans for after the war, I mean— we didn't have /plans/, plans, but y'know we…" He clears his throat, looking up at Haven and forcing a smile. "It's … just a little raw, still," he says, apologetically. "I'm still getting my feet under me."

She can't help the chuckle in her throat, or the smile when he's calling her a dame. "Steve. I'm a woman who has worked in the figurative trenches with only men for years now. Straight shooting is the only way I know how to shoot, soldier. Men do not always exactly pick up on things when they're not said bluntly or shoved into their faces." Her head tips, and she'll give him a look with those blue eyes.

She will watch him play with the napkin. "Handsome." She will reach over, and touch his hand again. "I.. I get it. You had a girl, in the war. You had plans, and you're not.. over it. It's not very long to deal with all the changes you've had thrown at you. I sort of think you deserve a medal, handling as well as you do."

Her hand will pull back. "Maybe I got the term wrong. A nightcap is just a drink, and… well, I mean, it can lead to things, but that's not a given, is it?" She looks puzzled a moment. "I.. " There's a roll of blue eyes. "I'm not exactly experienced in that whole taking a guy home for the night, thing, if that's what you're thinking. I know women today can and do, but.. I never have."

Steve looks a little relieved when Haven clears the air. "Well, let's chalk this one up to both of us being a little out of our depth," he says, and flashes a grin to show that all's well with him.

The gelato arrives, in two small bowls on a clever little service that makes it a little artistic presentaiton. "Hey, that's pretty spiffy," Steve tells the waiter, impressed. He reaches for his spoon and nods at Haven, gesturing for her to go ahead. "Ladies first," he says, and his grin is a sly play between polite deferral and a teasing jab at her straightforwardness.

She's flushing, and trying to hide her mortification and that she's mad at herself for sounding like a fool. "I was offering to have you come over and talk some more. Since you drinking is pointless, as we discussed earlier." She will over-clarify forever, if she's not stopped.

The dessert arrives, which helps derail what could have become babbling. She will pick up the little dessert spoon. "I don't see any ladies here, handsome. Just a soldier who can pass as one, if she's not tested." There's disappointment in herself in that mutter.

"No, I — I appreciate it, Haven. I really do," he tells her, sincerely. Sensing her discomfort, he returns the early gesture and gives her wrist a squeeze. There's some strength behind his fingers, but it's carefully marshalled into a gentle touch of reassurance. "I'm sorry if I'm a little out of touch with things. It's— well, aside from a friend of mine, I haven't spent a lot of time socializing," he admits. "I've been trying to keep busy, just to— I don't know. Keep my boots moving," he says, struggling for a better turn of phrase. "I just don't quite feel like—" he trails off, a bit stymied as he tries to find the words. "Like I can really rest. Not yet."

Haven will still under that gesture, the touch, a glance at him from under lashes. "You're not alone with being out of touch with things. I'm just.. I didn't mean to.. bring up something that hurts. That's rarely my intention." She looks at him, her head tipping, blonde hair sliding to cover one eye, very Veronica Lake of her. "Maybe you need to. Stop moving, I mean. Take some time to rest and really settle into yourself. You are you are now."

"You're probably right," Steve concedes. "I should. I just… I went under in '45," he says. "February 12th. But the war wasn't over for another three months. And we kept fighting the Nazis until '48," he says. "I try to think of my friends, they had another— two, three years of war ahead of them. I was sleeping peacefully while they were out fighting," he says. He takes a slow breath, exhales.

"I don't know. I feel like I owe it to them to— carry on a little more. They did a lot of good. I've met their kids— shucks, their /grandkids/, and they're still fighting the good fight," he says, shaking his head. "There's still so much to do."

"Steve." She will reach out, curl her fingers around the edge of his hand. "None of them blame you. None of them hold a grudge for what happened to you. You did the best you could with what you were dealing with." She sounds confident of that.

"You owe no one anything. You owe yourself. You deserve the time to.. sort it all out. You don't go into a war half cocked, do you? You get the intel, you make a plan. Take some R&R, get your ducks lined up, man. You can only be a better fighter for it."

Steve squeezes Haven's hand back, and smiles at her. "You know, you make a pretty good therapist," he tells her. "I can't say I met a field medic before who could do double duty as a chaplain."

He gives her hand another squeeze and takes the last two bites of his gelato. "Y'know, that advice goes both ways," he tells her, a few seconds later. "You've got the time to make your own call. Get your decisions made. There's no big rush to jump back into the saddle," he reminds her. "When you're ready to do something— well, you just know that feeling. When you're sitting down and feel liek you should keep moving." The waiter bustles over with a bill in hand. Steve intercepts the little folder and this time manages to keep the numbers straight. He digs for a little fountain pen in his pocket, signs, then digs in his wallet for cash and puts it in the docket. "I still don't trust those credit cards they gave me," he confesses, his tone wry. "I guess I better figure it out, my favorite deli place says they're not taking cash starting in the summer." He shakes his head, bemused by such a notion.

"It's probably because I talk to a therapist." She'll say, tone bone dry. "I'm not religious, or even really spiritual. Hard to be, when you're me, I suppose." She'll shrug. "Well see, I had this whole big plan to take some time, have some normalcy in my life. Find an apartment, collect some delivery and take out menus, get some furniture. Consider my options, plan things out.. " Then she'll smirk, looking at him sidelong. "Then this really hot guy ambushes me in my favorite coffee shop, and tries to lure me back to the rodeo."

There's a noise in her throat, a slapping at his arm. She will take his cash out of the check folder. "I asked you to dinner. What the heck do you think you're doing?"

Haven's quick. Steve's quicker. The little docket is slipped out of reach and he transfers it to his opposite hand, where she can't reach it easily. "I think I'm paying for dinner. I told you, I'm old-fashioned," Steve tells Haven. "I know things have changed a lot but a fellah still buys dinner on the first night out. You were nice enough to ask me out. If it's really got your girdle in a bind, next time, we can go dutch. Maybe," he adds, before handing the folder to the waiter.

Haven will stare at him, blue eyes meeting blue. "Steve. I asked you. I pay." She sputters, looking flustered and blushing. "I just.. I understood I could pay for dinner. I mean, it's not like I…" She's completely at a loss here. "Maybe? Come on, Steve!"

"Sure, and I very much appreciate the thought," Steve assures Haven. "I know things have changed, but that doesn't mean I've got to get rid of /all/ my old habits," he says. "I still think there's room for being a gentleman today, isn't there?" he inquires, his voice level and good-humored to contrast Haven's blustering confoundment. "I hope you're not all /that/ sore about it. I've been known to hold doors open for ladies, too."

"I'm not sore about it. That's not it. It's just that I asked you. If I had known you were going to go all old school on me, I've have picked somewhere less pricey." She's flushed, even as she finishes her wine. She'll pause and look at him. "Huh. So you're what a gentleman looks like."

"I don't look too bad for being ninety-seven, do I?" Steve inquires, a little whimsically. He eases back in his chair, sipping the last of his water. "I don't know how /not/ to do it. I was raised to say 'yes sir', 'thank you ma'am', hold doors, help folks cross the street. I think that's one thing that's changed a lot," he says, brow furrowing a bit. "We used to depend on each other for so much when I was a kid. Now— I don't know. Everyone's so self-reliant, I think they're not as accustomed to looking out for each other."

Haven laughs. "No, no you don't. I mean.. I'd take you home." There's a wink there. "For a good night kiss, but.. you know, can't be stressing that nearly hundred year old ticker." She blinks at him, a glance towards the window. "I guess that's true? I mean.. I know how to take care of myself.. but I'm also in the habit of helping others more than me." A pause. "If that makes sense."

"It does," Steve promises Haven. There's a beat, and he smiles. "C'mon, it's getting late. Can I walk you to your cab, or are you going to tell me that you're walking all the way home in those shoes?" he inquires. He gets to his feet and offers Haven a hand to rise, and then reaches for her coat.

She smiles. "Late for a 97 year old man, maybe." She'll sass him as he rises, let him help her into her coat. "What's wrong with my shoes? It's only a couple blocks." She'll pull her coat closed, starting to button it up. "Would it make you feel better if I took a cab, handsome?"

"I can walk you home if you're bent on showing me how tough you are," Steve says. He grins at her and shrugs into his own worn leather bomber jacket, complete with a faded yellow inner fleece lining. "I've spent enough time in the ice that no one's going to win a game of cold-catching with me." He offers Haven his arm and starts walking towards the door.

"I don't think I need to show you…do I?" Haven will lift her eyebrows, looking up at him. "I've yet to ever be sick with anything, since I was a kid. Much like you, I imagine." She'll tie the belt around her coat, picking up her purse to head for the door. "As much as I love the company, you don't have to walk me home."

"Fair enough," Steve tells Haven. He holds the door open for her— as promosed— and walks her out in front of the restaurant, where cars are pulling in and out of the narrow parking spot to pick up and drop people off.

"In that case— thanks. For tonight," he says, flashing a grateful smile. "I had a swell time," he assures her. "It's nice to get out in the real world again. I really appreciate it."

She will stand on the sidewalk with him, looking up. "We'll have to do it again. My treat, next time." She'll lean up, the most innocent of kisses placed to the corner of his mouth. "Take care, Captain. I may call soon."

Steve squeezes Haven's elbow when she leans in, and returns the kiss. More than a peck, less than a caress. "Deal," he promises. "Have a good night, Haven," he tells her, flashing a wide smile. He waits until she's started well on her way home, then turns and whistles for a cab with a sharp, splitting noise. In moments, he is headed the opposite direction, back to his own little sanctuary from the city.

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