Heat: 02 Rating: PG
Diana deRiggs

Jagged, experienced and wise beyond his still-young years, found he enjoyed this coquettish game that he and Jaina were suddenly playing. "The food here is not bad, don't you think?"

Taken a little aback by the change of subject, Jaina looked at her plate for the first time. It was empty.

Frowning, she tried to remember if she'd eaten. Was she hungry? "It's food ... it's been so long that I remembered such sensual desires."

Did I just say that??? Jaina hid the visual evidence of her distress at her words. Thinking quickly, she willed herself not to stutter her embarrassment, "I mean ... it's a luxury that I am not used to experiencing ... the ability to choose or critique my sustenance." There, that's better.

Jagged smiled at her graceful yet clumsy attempt at recovery. "But it's easy to get used to when the opportunity arises. I have to admit that I never admired the pilots like Janson or Klivian who lived for pleasure, with the reward for survival being a good dinner. But ..." Jagged sighed, "... when the senses are still and quiet after a long strain, the hedonistic pleasures of eating and drinking are undeniable. They're a relatively low-cost pleasure, so I found I had to be careful not to let myself get fat when I started enjoying food."

Jaina was taken by surprise. Sure, food was important to the likes of Jagged, as well as of her. It was a way to keep healthy and alive, and politically, it was a way to respect or show off. She had a feeling, however, that this wasn't what her dining partner was referring to in his comments. What was Jagged talking about?

Seeing her face, Jagged smirked. "Ever notice couples on a first date, over dinner? Before their relationship is consummated?" He waited for her to nod, forcing her to react to him, even though she was clearly uncomfortable with the subject matter.

"Women will order things that will impress the men of their healthiness and lightness. For instance, vegetables in the form of unsauced salads or steamed sidedishes as a main part of their meal. But if you watch carefully ... they order the vegetables in a form that is almost perfect ... to dip into a creamy sauce .. rigid, raw, hard." Jagged almost whispered the last few words, and enjoyed the wide-eyed disbelief in Jaina's face, knowing that her reaction was paired with recognition of her own patterns.

"And men ... they will order rich, creamy things, shaped like domes or balls ... quite breastlike, in contrast to the women's phallic choices. Or hollowed vegetables or pocketed meats, stuffed with something savory and tasty?" He saw the color rise in Jaina's cheeks.

Jaina wondered if she'd eaten, and what had she had had? A momentary panic washed over her, as she groped through her recent memory, wondering what she'd ordered for dinner!

The dinner conversation with Jagged was more than Jaina could deal with,and so she decided to go on the offensive. "Jagged Fel, are you saying that men and women project their desire at each other when they eat dinner?"

Jagged shrugged, "It's just an observation, Jaina. No need to get all snorty."

She felt a bit de-fused, as if he was accusing her of thinking bad things. But he started it!

Didn't he?

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