Chewing her own food, she watched Mohinder taste this batch, apparently enjoying the taste as much as she did. Really, though, she hardly had any room to judge when it came to food. At least her meals weren’t toxic, but she often left the cooking to William or the lovely professionals at her favorite restaurants. This was much better than anything she’d ever made, even with practice pancakes.
An unconscious habit, she found herself wondering what he was thinking as a companionable silence washed over them. She plotted out his next movements, microexpressions, gestures, words. A whole scenario played out in her head, like a movie in fast forward, of how they would finish breakfast, clean, then go into his lab for…whatever it was he needed to do. Despite that–or perhaps because she was lost in her own mind–his compliment was entirely unexpected, and thoroughly baffling.
She froze, forkful of crepe and strawberry, and blinked, as though blinking would make reality assert itself once more. He couldn’t have just said she was special, how could he have? She was, at best, an opportunist, more aptly branded a mercenary. Claire was not ‘one of the good guys’ to be called special. For someone to feel, personally, that she was special. Yet his warm hand on hers confirmed that this had, indeed, happened. He thought she was extraordinary… Claire didn’t know what to do with that, but she forced herself to bring the food to her mouth and chew, buying her at least that much time. Smiling a tight little smile, she took her hand back, though she immediately felt the lack.
“You know,” she began, glancing briefly at her food before meeting his eyes again, mixture of mischief and something deeper and undefinable,, “it’s a shame you’re a good, big-hearted person. Otherwise my conscience wouldn’t be nagging at me about kissing you, let alone finding some similar way to thank you for breakfast. We wouldn’t even have to wipe down the counter.” It was deflection at its best, a shocking (if true) statement meant to distract him from being so damn nice to her, from chipping little holes in her shell. If that didn’t scare him away, then maybe they…no. And if it did? He’d only be saving himself she thought,