He'd had enough waiting; he was going to do it. Hinting was getting him nowhere with Lexa, but it was making him the butt of Chris and Rick's jokes, and he was sure Amanda was going to kill him if he didn't stop talking about it, so he'd decided he was going to ask her out on a date.
There was a slight flaw in the plan, though -- what to do? Drinks were out, since the best place was somewhere the rest of their coworkers and most of the actors in Vancouver frequented on an almost daily basis. Talking over coffee was a bad idea -- Michael didn't need any more caffeine to become a babbling idiot around a woman. Definitely not a club, or a show, or a movie, since the goal was talking. Dinner might be good, but Michael had no idea what Lexa liked to eat other than salad and chocolate, so no dinner, either.
That didn't leave a lot of first date type things, although.... He had a friend over at Space and Science -- maybe he could talk Scott into letting them in after hours for a planetarium show. Yeah, that was it -- it had the benefit of being a novel idea and the bonus of privacy. They could get to know each other better and see where things went from there.
In theory, it was a great plan. Call Lexa, ask her on a date, she says yes, he's relieved, yadda, yadda. In practice, however, it didn't work out. They played phone tag for days before they finally connected; once they talked, it became obvious that while they were both interested, they had no time -- both of them were in the middle of shooting, and their schedules were horribly mismatched. They talked a while longer, and promised to get together when they broke for the mid-season, and Michael resigned himself to letting this one go.
He was surprised a week later when Lexa called.
"Lexa! Hi -- how are you?"
"Oh, I'm good. I was just- We have an unexpected break in filming, and I was wondering if you were free tomorrow?"
"I have an early call, but after that I didn't have anything planned, no. Did you want to get together?"
"Yeah. I'm not sure what to do, though. Did you have any ideas?
"As a matter of fact, I do...."
He picked Lexa up after he left the studios, and after a quick stop for the picnic basket he'd ordered from Urban Fare, they were on their way to the museum. They arrived right at 5:00, entering while everyone else was leaving, and his friend Scott met them in the reception area.
Michael made the introductions, and Scott asked, "Lexa, is this your first visit to the museum?"
"No, but I'm so busy that most days I'm lucky I get a shower, let alone time to hang out, so I've only been once."
Scott elbowed Michael and said, "Wow, Shanks, she must really like you -- shower and hanging out."
Michael and Lexa blushed and spoke at the same time, "It's not-" "Maybe we should-"
Scott just laughed and led them toward the planetarium. When they arrived, he explained that he needed to lock up behind the other employees. "As soon as I set the alarms, I'll come back and start the show -- shouldn't be more than fifteen minutes or so...."
"No worries, Scott -- you're the one doing me a favor, so a few minutes here or there isn't going to hurt."
They watched Scott leave, then entered the dimly lit auditorium. Since it was just them, they had their choice of seats and when Michael gestured for Lexa to choose, she led them to the center of the center row.
"Perfect -- the acoustics are best right here, and the shows are geared toward the center, so this is the best spot to sit."
"I've never actually been to a planetarium, but I figured since dead center is the best spot at the movies, it was probably best here, too."
"Yeah, yeah it is. Um. I said that already, didn't I?"
Lexa smiled and said, "Yep, you did."
There was an awkward silence while they waited for the show to start; Michael suddenly remembered the picnic basket, so he asked, "Do you want a glass of wine, or something to eat while we wait?"
"Oooh...wine would be nice. What else is in there?"
Michael pulled the bottle of wine and a pair of glasses from the basket, then passed it to Lexa, "I'm not really sure. Chris recommended Urban Fare, and told me which basket to order -- all I know is that there's wine, and cheese of some kind, and chocolate." As he spoke he was thanking everything holy that some of the better wine makers had started using the new screw on caps -- he wasn't up to figuring out a corkscrew. He poured the wine and passed a glass to Lexa; she passed him a plate of fruit and cheese just as the lights went down and the show started.
It was the Sky Stories show, and as the soft flute music filled the room, a wide swathe of stars bloomed across the dome of the planetarium. Lexa gasped aloud, and stared up with wide eyes. Michael couldn't tear his eyes away -- she was gorgeous with the light of the stars reflecting off her hair and skin and eyes, and in that moment, he wanted nothing more than to hold on and never let go.
He wasn't even expecting a hug -- at best he figured Lexa would say thanks and get out of the car after he'd chattered about everything and nothing in order to fill the silence.
Instead, they both chattered about everything and nothing, and Lexa traced the constellations they'd seen earlier into the palm of his hand; the longer they sat there, the farther up Michael's arm her fingers wandered, until she was stroking the side of his neck.
At that point, it was a merely a matter of turning his head to kiss Lexa, which he did, lightly at first, then harder as he leaned into her across the parking brake and twined his fingers into her hair. It was nearly silent in the car until Lexa swiped her tongue over Michael's lower lip, and then it was as if a dam had broken. He couldn't control his voice after that, and each successive kiss or caress brought more sighs, more whispers of "please" and "don't stop."
When Lexa finally pulled away, Michael was flushed and breathless, wanting more, and frustrated that he wasn't going to get it. He wanted to ask if he could stay, but he was afraid if he pushed too hard, he'd scare Lexa away.
So when Lexa smiled and asked, "Do you want to come in?" Michael did the smartest thing he'd ever done, and he said, "Yes."
-= a beginning =-