It was ridiculous to feel nervous. She knew that, it wasn't like she had just met this guy and it wasn't like they hadn't slept in the same bed when she let him come stay with her over Christmas. It had been a couple weeks since then, Julian had insisted that they go out on a real date but they'd been texting a lot since then and seen one another a few times at work. One time had resulted in a pretty heated makeout session in the break room which told her that everything she was feeling wasn't just going to disappear. She liked him, dammit she really liked him.

She had picked out her outfit the night before to avoid her getting in a last minute panic. Nora didn't really pay much mind to what others thought about her fashion but perhaps for one night she wanted to impress him a little. The feminist in her was shaking her head in disapproval but she couldn't bring herself to care in that moment. She was wearing her favorite pair of jeans, a pretty blouse paired with a loose-fitting black cardigan which would keep her warm enough as they wandered around the aquarium together. 

A blush rested upon her cheeks as she thought about the idea of going on a date with him, in public no less. She wondered if he would hold her hand while talking about something dorky, whether that stupid grin would plant itself on her lips and refuse to leave like it usually did when she was with him. As if he could sense her nervousness, Cloud jumped up for her attention which made her laugh and tell him to settle in her bed "I'll be fine, it's only a date, what's the worst that could happen right?" she attempted to laugh it off but really she was wondering how tonight would go. 

She grabbed her bag and keys and headed towards the door, closing it and locking up behind her before heading down the steps of her home and down the driveway. She decided to get a cab rather than drive because she wasn't really sure what the plan was. She knew where they were meeting but it seemed open ended on whether they would stay together after or where they might go. She wanted the freedom to have a few drinks if she wanted. She hopped into the cab she called and before long she was across the city to the busier tourist part at the center.

She got out of the car, looking around as she pulled her cardigan tighter because the air was colder than she was expecting it to be. She made her way to their meeting spot outside of the building and tugged on her sleeves a little as she waited.

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He wasn’t particularly afraid that she’d see this other side of him that often repelled people in his life. It wouldn’t be the first time nor will it be the last but despite the worry that sets in his heart, he didn’t think he could just put a smile on her when he’s hiding something else underneath. That doesn’t work with him. He wondered… if she had done the same to him, there was no way, right? They were doing so well so far… nothing else was there to be placed as a potential conflict and Julian hoped it would remain that way. “Because why wouldn’t you want people to like you? Being likable is… a heavy work to do but… I can see why people do it.” Perhaps some cared too much to the point it became unhealthy. 

He raised his eyebrows and chuckled when she said that “Maybe… Maybe I was tempted to do that too… but hey, if I don’t accept all of you, do I deserve you at all?” That’s always the question, right? The nephilim always found himself going back at that, to ask whether he deserved her or not. She was the one who allowed him in, after all. If she didn’t, then would any of his advances come through? He had that stupid grin plastered on his face when she said the taller the better, he could do with that. He ruffled his hair dramatically and shrugged “I don’t know… I think pink would still be fine, you don’t think I’d rock hot pink? Well, here I was thinking you had my six all the time, such a devious woman.” God she might not be the only one to question it though. 

“Lucky for you miss, my workplace will never allow me to dye my hair any obnoxious color, I have a reputation to keep, and pilots and engineers don’t… have time to fashion themselves like that.” Understandable, they’re often somewhere that doesn’t really care if you’re covered in mud or gold. “Naturally, I do have wings for a reason, don’t I? If I don’t make use of it, then my sister would just say cut off your wings so I can auction them off” he grumbled and rolled his eyes, she would actually do that and he’s genuinely freaked out. “That and I’m in aeronautics for a reason baby. It’s my job, my whole lifeline that I dedicated myself to.” He didn’t think he could actually give that one up, in any circumstances. When she mentioned a neck ache, he brought his hand up to massage the back of his and grinned sheepishly “I mean, you can stand on my feet, so long as they’re not covered in heels…” Would that even help? He’d still need to look down or she’d need to look up still. “We’ll find a way to get used to it.” 

He playfully hit her side when she said it was nothing special for lunch “Does your royal highness, not like such things?” he teased, “Because I’d kill for a burger and milkshake right about now, do you know my supervisor has been putting us on this tight diet? It’s killing me to even continue eating chicken breasts.” Soon enough, they reached the entrance where a few were queuing. “Is it bad if I hoped people will go because if we have to queue for another 20 minutes, I’m bailing?” 

She shrugged her shoulders slightly “Isn’t it exhausting to try and reach people’s expectations?” she questioned in a soft voice, especially if the person you were trying to get to like you wanted you to be someone you’re not. Julian hadn’t asked her to do that, if anything he seemed to embrace her with all of her flaws and that was what made him so different from others she knew. “I don’t want to change myself if that’s the only way someone will see me as someone good” she murmured softly, maybe she wasn’t good but she was who she was, if that wasn’t enough then eventually all she was going to do is let someone down.

Her eyes softened a little, she wasn’t mad to hear that he’d thought about running because that meant he had given what he wanted serious thought “You just keep surprising me” she murmured softly as she looked up at him “But you’ve already proved yourself more than worthy of me, god knows no one else has ever had the patience you have, you must have been a saint in another life” she teased, shaking her head in an amused manner. She laughed as she attempted to picture him with pink hair in her head “I’m not sure I could even process the idea of you with lighter hair” she teased as she lifted her hand to push his hair out of his face and block it with her palm so she could look at him “I don’t think hot pink is in your cards” she murmured softly.

She grinned slightly “It must be fun just to be able to fly wherever you want to…” it would be enjoyable she was sure and very freeing because you would never really be held back by anything “Your sister sounds like quite the character” she commented and laughed softly, shaking her head slightly “But it’s kinda crazy like someone who can fly all by himself wanted to work in aviation” honestly it made her curious what it was “Do you find it fascinating how the same thing can be replicated with machinery?” it was pretty amazing how far things had come she would admit that much.

She laughed softly when he said she could stand on his feet as long as she wasn’t wearing heels “You’re really scared of my heels now aren’t you?” she jested with an amused smile, she gasped and nudged him back when he hit her side “I can…eat a burger” she commented and grinned sheepishly “I don’t like this judgment I’m getting for having high standards of food…” she murmured softly. She chuckled when he said he didn’t want to have to queue for the cafeteria food “That same thought comes up in my head all the time” she commented and laughed but tugged him to join the queue and before long they were up to the counter.

"You I can't see that way. You can't be someone else Len, it'll break my heart… and yours too." All he wants is for her to be herself, even if it's only around him. That's fine, he could take that. "I want to be your comfort." He couldn't help but to chuckle when she pointed out that he must've been a saint from another life "Perhaps I was, and for that I am truly grateful, because only then was I able to get someone like you, right? I can handle you, I will… I don't want anyone else. Why else would I pursue you without resting…? Giving up is definitely a lot easier, especially when it's Eleanora Nordstroem, but I don't think I could live on thinking it's okay, I missed my shot. I had to try." 

He cleared his throat and pursed his lips slightly, "Though I had to admit, I was afraid you were going to say no. Because my fragile heart might not be able to take it." The nephilim stared at the girl in front of him, pressing her palm against his forehead so she could brush his hair away. He softened his eyes and brushed his thumb against her knuckle gently "Then what suits me?" He might do whatever color she wants, without hesitation. It's hard for Julian to really say no when she was asking anything. Even when it ends up not being an ask. "My sister is crazy, you mean. She would like you and I'm somewhat afraid of that happening… because if she meets you, she's gonna drag you into the craziness that is my family. It's scary, you might pack up and leave" he grumbled. Knowing his sister, that might actually happen. 

The male rubbed the back of his heard awkwardly and nodded when she asked if he was fascinated "It was a bit unhinged at first, not gonna lie. But when I learned about the technology, all the science that goes behind it? It's remarkable. I wanted to be an astronaut but I don't think birds will fare well in enclosed spaces… so that's a pass. Having a job that involves flying is the best occupation for me." Because it aligns with his interest, which later concludes a good outcome in his work ethic. "I'm scared of you in general baby, you can be scary but I like it too." His cute girl. 

"Then prove me wrong, I want to know more about you… everything about you, slowly." He was not in a rush and didn't want to push her. Once they were up at the counter, he made his order and waited for her and paid before getting their number. His eyes were searching for a table and literally went straight to the one that was just emptied, tugging her wrist without a care. "Have you been on dates like these?"

He was sincere and she liked that about him, he had sought her out for the exact person she was right now and she had never asked him to be anything different. She offered a small smile when he said he wanted to be her comfort “You are” she pointed out “I’m not an easy person to sway but with you, I feel like I can forget things for a little while” he was so humble and kind to her that it was almost impossible not to get taken away with his sentiment, especially because unlike others who she could tell only said things to score a few points here and there, he was the kind of person who proved his words, over and over again. “You really are tireless to your cause” she teased softly and nudged him.

“I would have said no to most” she responded and nodded her head, if it wasn’t for Christmas and getting to spend time just…free of any pretext or obligations, she was sure she would have convinced herself it was another person just pushing themselves into her way. She parted her lips in surprise at his soft little gesture against her hand and then she offered a small smile “Maybe an undercut would work” she suggested with a slight nod of her head, she didn’t want him to change too much, she liked how he looked right now.

Him voicing his concerns about his family scaring her off made her laugh “Well trust me you can’t outdo me on fucked up families so anything would be better by comparison” her voice was a little sarcastic, she didn’t talk much about her parents but when she did, she rarely had anything nice to say. She raised her brows and smiled as he talked about his work and what made him so interested in it “I think every kid has a brief period where they wanna be an astronaut” she definitely did, though she quickly moved on from that phase “At least you have a built-in parachute if needed huh?” she commented and smiled softly, he seemed proud of his work and it showed.

She smiled when he said he wanted to know everything about her “Well I’m not even sure where to start…” she confessed and looked down for a moment before looking up to him “Well my favorite snack is nachos but not the terrible ones you get from stalls or fast-food restaurants, it has to be the real stuff, with salsa…guacamole…lots of cheese sauce” she grinned slightly, she was a bit of a snob when it came to her food but she did love it when it turned out delicious. After a while, she sat across from him and shook her head “No, never…I mean I’ve never really done proper dates full stop…not ones where someone makes an effort to…you know” she laughed and tilted her head “You must have more experience than me right?”

Nora has never been the type of conventional woman he thought he'd see himself with. When he first met her, things were... not going in his favor, honestly. But suffice to say, after spending his time with the lady, he found himself being mesmerized by the dhampir. The way she does things, the way she would often makes her voice heard, even if it was the biggest room possible. The nephilim realized how much he adored those antics. "Well when you say it like that, I'm glad it makes you feel that way. I just want to make you smile... and it's not hard to believe that's what I only want too." Because believe it or not, Julian really did wish for her happiness.

Seeing that smile etched on her lips, the way she always had something witty coming her way and the curve of her lips going upwards because of that smirk of hers, or hell even her cute nose scrunch, Julian loved it all. "See, if I give up so easily, then I wouldn't be the man you like, no?" he teased. He brushed his hand through his hair and chuckled when she said maybe he could rock an undercut "You think so? I have never had one to actually know how I'd look in such style honestly." Perhaps this would be the first and Nora would come to like it. Maybe himself too.

"My family is not fucked up... actually they are very close to each other which kinda... makes it annoying at times" he chuckled nervously and rubbed the back of his head awkwardly because he knew Nora might not blend well with them if she didn't want to. But Nora has always been soft and compassionate towards him, perhaps the same treatment would be extended to his family too? He patted his back proudly and grinned when she pointed out how he had a built-in parachute aka his wings attached to his back. "I was born lucky, what can I say? Who knows, Len, maybe I can bring you out for a fly sometimes, if you weren't so afraid of the sky" Flying in planes and up in the air itself would be different, he thought. She might not feel the way he does and he couldn't blame her for that because for a nephilim, flying is freeing.

Surprisingly, her choice of favorite snack didn't take him back by surprise because since that day, he noticed her love for cheese is something else so he tried his best to make lasagne and pasta for her plenty. He shook his head when she said that because Julian didn't date around that much, it just didn't occur to him to do those aside one with his late-fiancee, which was a different time entirely. "I haven't dated much after her but I love spoiling my beloved... like you" he murmured softly and brushed a few strands of her hair behind her ear, his touch lingering against the crook of her ear gently "I would make them feel so happy they would say they're on top of their world..."

The thing is, she wouldn’t have believed that was his intent if he was anyone else, in her mind, she had always felt like people maintained an ulterior motive, they wanted something, they liked tear off little pieces of her good graces until nothing was left. It was hard for her to trust but that’s exactly what she was trying to do, for him. “Who knew my type would end up being a stubbornly good person” she commented and scoffed softly, it was strange for her even put into perspective her very own reality.

She pressed her lips together and nodded “Honestly I think you could pull any hairstyle off with that face” she would never deny that Julian was incredibly handsome, that’s exactly what had taken her attention so quickly after they met, it was impossible not to notice. She tilted her head slightly when he talked about how his family being close could be annoying at times “People go through all kinds of hell because of their family, you must be lucky” she mumbled softly, she would give anything for a family who just…made sense.

“I haven’t got the first idea about being a good family member…as you can tell, I didn’t have the best examples to follow” honestly it was easier to just try to forget about it and pretend like she was alone than it was to admit the people she looked up to, could be so incredibly awful. She grimaced slightly when he mentioned him taking her for a flight “I definitely prefer to keep my feed on the floor…floor sweet floor” she mumbled nervously, some people dreamed of flying one day but she wasn’t one of them, it sounded like a nightmare to her.

Him calling her his beloved so easily gave her pause for a moment, hitching her breath as he reached in to play with her hair, falling straight for his moves without a second thought, was this what it felt like to be comfortable with someone… “You’re too good…I feel like I have to shield you from the world so it doesn’t try to hurt you” she commented, her eyes locked on his in that moment, she brought her hands up to cup his face “I’d be really sad if you were good to some other girl…” and insanely jealous, that too.

Julian remember the first time he came to Evermore, he had nothing much to himself. He just went somewhere he pointed on the map the first time because he wanted to drink his sorrows away after the death of his late fiancee. And perhaps to move on. Has he moved on? Looking at the petite girl standing before him at this very moment, with the underlying feelings he had, he was so sure he has moved on. No, he knows he has moved on. Because now, his focus is all on Eleanora Nordstroem, and her alone. He wanted her attention, he craved her validation, her affection, everything there is that she had to offer. He wanted it all.

“I guess your type resonates well with your… criteria and needs” he teased, he’s not really stubborn but obviously he could be when it comes to the people he cared for. He’s stubborn because he cares. “You know what people say right? To be stubborn and overbearing sometimes is because they care too much…” Julian wants her to know that’s why he’s behaving the way he is. “I never knew my type is someone so haughty either… so cold… almost like the floor tiles… but also easy to crack if we know where to hit.” He likes to believe he had gone through the first few layers to her and that’s why they’re here today.

He smirked the moment she complimented his physical appearance “And I bet it’s not just my face that’s nice huh?” Julian was blessed to be born with good physique and looks. Paired with his personality, it wasn’t a surprise anyone would be smitten. But it’s always hard for the nephilim to be intimate because he always had expectations and most people could never meet them properly. “My family would love you… they’d think I finally found someone to boss me around and they’d cheer. Especially my annoying sister, she would probably love you more than her own blood.” He had a good family, he knew that and would never jeopardize that by behaving stupidly.

“You can be my family… I can be your family… my family will be yours too…” He had no problem sharing those warmth with her, god knows she needs them. In fact, he’s more than happy to do so. The nephilim grinned sheepishly when she expressed her jealousy and possessiveness over him “Do you know how much I like it when you behave like this?” He would pull her in for a kiss and murmur “The only girl I want to be good for and at… is Eleanora Nordstroem. That doesn’t mean I’ll start being mean to everyone else though. Can’t help it baby, I am likable.”

She gave him a pointed look when he said her type must align with what she needs “Maybe…or maybe the universe just decided to throw me a curve ball and see how I handled it” he was unexpected in her life after all, she never really came looking for a relationship like this..and now here they were. She wasn’t complaining at all…if anything she was happy “Is that you? Do you care more than you should?” he seemed like the type but it was…sweet…how much he thought about her needs…how considerate and kind he could be. She arched her brow playfully “I’m a floor tile huh…” well…at least she was something expensive.

She poked her tongue against her cheek and smirked, he definitely fed off compliments and she supposed that was earned considering how much work he must put in to maintain his physique “There’s…plenty to admire here” she begrudgingly added before giving him a stern look “And that’s all the compliments you’re getting for now, so no more fishing mister” she purred softly as she tapped his nose playfully. Nora paused for a moment when he claimed his family would love her though…honestly all she was aiming for was ensuring they wouldn’t hate her…it was enough to be tolerated…she never had high hopes when it came to her impression on others, mostly because she didn’t see herself as all that likable.

“Do you really want me to meet them?” she asked shyly, things were still relatively new right now but he always seemed so sure about everything, she was curious to know if he wanted that. She laced her fingers in his and bit her lip, he seemed so sure about everything and she felt quite the opposite, but with his hand in hers, it felt like some of his optimism radiated through to her. Perhaps there was hope in her chest that she could have…warmth like that. Family. What a strange word, she thought.

She narrowed her eyes but smiled as he came into kiss her “I would fight all the other girls off if I have to and I’m willing to fight dirty too, they can’t have you” she cupped his face gently and stroked his cheek “So keep…looking at me like that…okay” she mumbled softly.

She was definitely on her way to his happily ever after bingo card. Was she who he expected when he came to Evermore? No. Was she someone he thought ticked every list of his ideal girl that would be good for him? Not really, no. But was she the one who made him believe in love again? Yes. Eleanora Nordstroem was nothing if not a mess, but she is his mess. The one he happily would take care of if it meant he could stick by her just a bit longer.

“Then the universe has found itself a pro player because you wield that bowling and threw the entire pinhold into strike, baby.” He nodded in response to her question whether he was the one who cared more than he should. “Yes… a floor tile… a marble floor tile, you know how precious and crazily expensive those are?” She had them back home and the first thing he noticed was how cool it made the whole atmosphere.

Julian swore he would’ve blushed if she continued with her compliments but it was very Len of her to stop there “Plenty to
admire huh, that’s good to hear. I can’t risk my girlfriend getting bored of me can I?” He couldn’t stop grinning at her because every movement she made was just so damn cute. “I cannot wait for you to meet them… they would dote on you and tell me I should do more to deserve you” and no he wasn’t even exaggerating, that’s what they did with his late fiancée and they’ll do the same to her too, he imagined. “What’s not to like about you hm? This grumpy yet lovable girl…”

She was so small he felt like he would swallow her entire world if he had embraced her. He wanted to protect her. His eyes softened and he brushed his thumb against her bottom lip and dragged them to the apple of her cheeks “Even if I go blind… I’ll never stop, Len.” He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and guided her to the other section which was focusing more on the different types of fishes, they were wandering around the sharks. He made sure they got the front row to the show and held her hand as the trainer demonstrated a few tricks “You’re like a shark… so dangerously cute but lethal.”

She gave him a playful look and shook her head slightly, reaching to pat his shoulder “I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself a pro player when it comes to dealing with these twists and turns in life, and truth be told, I think the ball probably had a mind of it’s own about where it wanted to be” meaning he was stubborn and changed the course of things all by himself. She raised her brows slightly “I know exactly how expensive those are because I redid my kitchen less than a year ago” she grumbled, stupidly expensive for what they were.

“Bored” she questioned, raising her brow playfully “Is that possible when you come up with the randomest of things constantly?” she questioned and smiled, he was very interesting, for a guy who led a very normal life he had so much to talk about, she often didn’t need to carry on much of their conversations because he would naturally pick up and talk about something, usually flying or some movie he watched, she honestly liked not feeling the pressure to have to continue the conversations constantly.

“Do they all have loads of hobbies like you?” she questioned and smiled, he was always working on something, a very passionate person which honestly she admired a lot because she hated boring people. She was curious to know more about his family because if she was going to meet them…she wanted to make a good impression. She found herself completely caught up in his gaze, her gentle touch against her chest making her feel warm…secure, she smiled as she felt her heart pang in her face “Good” she mumbled softly in response to his words.

With a light blush resting on her cheeks she followed him over to one of the tanks, eyes widening as she looked through the glass, seeing a few of the sharks swimming amongst the fish. She gave a dry chuckle when he likened her to a shark “Don’t forget the deadly part” she teased and nudged him, watching intently as the trainer fed them. “Sharks know what they want and go directly for it, I can respect that” no swimming around endlessly.

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