Jean wasn't interested in dinner. He was perfectly happy in the weight room, doing reps, working out. He was even less interested in having Kestrel pout and Mal bitch incessantly, though, so he took a shower, dressed, put on his glasses and headed to the second floor.
At least they weren't meeting on the main floor where all the gawkers were. He hated the stares, the way people watched him. Hated it.
Jean checked his commlink and verified the room number, then went. Dinner, polite chit-chat, and then he was done and neither Kes or Mal could complain.
The door was opened by a young man with a sweet face. The boy bowed to him and held the door open, ushering him in.
He nodded to the boy, moving slowly and steadily toward the table, dark glasses clicking and flashing, adjusting to the low light and assisting his eyes. "Hello. I'm Jean."
The man at the table stood and held out a hand. "Hello Jean, I'm Noel, it's nice to meet you." Noel was handsome and smooth, well-dressed. "This is Richard."
The young man smiled at him and took his other hand, shaking it softly.
"Thank you for the dinner invitation." He nodded, offering them a half-grin, scars pulling. "Kestrel can be very persuasive."
"So I'm discovering. Richard and I are new here, but he's made us very welcome." Noel pointed to a chair, obviously waiting for Jean to sit.
"He is exceedingly good at that, too." Jean settled, looking around the room with its aqua decorations, a vid of an unspoiled beach playing against one wall.
Richard sat after Noel did, blue eyes shinning at Jean. The boy was beautiful, happy, laughing. Lovely. Leaning forward, Richard reached up, fingers hovering near Jean's scars.
"He wonders what happened," Noel asked, voice soft and deep.
"I was in a ship fire. There was a bomb in the cargo area." Jean turned his eyes toward Richard. "Are you mute?"
Richard shook his head, smiling shyly at Jean.
"He doesn't speak much. He never has."
"Oh." Jean nodded, offering the pretty one another half smile. "There's stuff to be said for quiet."
Oh, Richard like that, just beaming at him.
Noel chuckled. "Yes, indeed there is."
Jean didn't know what to say next, so he went with the tried and true. "Have you been here at the club long?"
"Just a couple of days. I've transferred in from Seria. How about you?"
"A little less than a season. After the critmedunit let me go." Mal had brought him here, Mal and Kes.
Richard shifted his chair a little closer, fingers gently stroking the back of Jean's hand.
"What did you do before the fire?" Noel asked him.
"I was a mechanic on the big interplanet freighters. Fixed the engines, the insides." He'd loved it too. Could have done it forever. "What do you do?"
"I design ads -- you know those big billboards you see everywhere? Most of them are mine."
Their meal was brought then, the club's waiters quiet and efficient.
Interesting. Jean carefully unwrapped his silverware, blessing Kestrel silently as he found oversized flatware waiting for him. "Sounds like fun."
"Some days. It's a job. Oh, this smells good."
Richard nodded, eagerly digging in.
The food was spicy, warm, but not overly so, and he enjoyed it, the conversation stilling as they fed. Every now and then Noel would feed Richard a bite of something, their movements easy and sensual together. He watched them with a touch of quiet envy, but also pleasure.
When the dessert course came, Richard was practically bouncing.
"Kestrel promised him ice cream," murmured Noel with a soft chuckle.
"Ah. I like the kind with nuts."
Richard smiled at him and offered a spoonful up to him.
"Thank you." He leaned down and took a bite, humming at the flavor. Richard reached up, stroking his bottom lip.
"Ah, yes," said Noel. "You dripped."
He blushed, head ducking. "Oops."
Richard giggled, fingers sliding to trace the scars on his face.