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Second Chances

Chapter 6

Maria Hill was relieved that Maia hadn't already handed in her notice and run for the door, but she was also confused by the fact Loki seemed happy with their new choice for his handler. All of the previous handlers assigned had found the man to be impossible, insulting, rude and even threatening, but either Maia was able to ignore it all or Loki was up to something. From what Xavier had said, about both of them, Loki meant well and could be trusted, but Hill was sure he still had his own agenda, and Maia was used to dealing with adolescent mutants as both teacher and counsellor. She had to be incredibly patient. Maybe they just got on with one another, but Hill still wasn't buying it.
Loki seemed happy to accept his new assignment, telling Hill he was very much looking forward to working with Maia. After the meeting they exchanged numbers, agreeing to meet in the lobby at nine the next morning to begin what would hopefully be Loki's proper introduction to earth culture.
That evening Loki sat in the window of his quarters on the secure floors reserved for The Avengers, reading one of the many books he had been provided, but he found he couldn't concentrate, his mind drifting back to the events of the day. His eyes fell on the Stark Phone he had been provided, that just hours earlier Maia's dainty hand had typed her number into for him. He tapped his finger on the page he had tried to read repeatedly for the last half an hour, his mind returning to cherry red hair, blue eyes and freckles. He was certain there was some sort of etiquette when it came to cellphones, and how soon you should message someone, however this was business and he was unsure how that differed. He decided on a question he could realistically ask without it seeming suspicious, not that it was, of course, and picked up the small unit, his long fingers creating a new message which simply read;
L~ Is there a dress code I should adhere to tomorrow?
Maia was towelling her hair dry, seated crosslegged on her bed with her laptop open, checking the opening times for various sights, when her phone lit up with a new message. Leaving the towel around her neck she couldn't help but smile when she saw it was from Loki. His question made her chuckle and she replied with one of her own.
M~Do you own anything besides suits and leather godly armour?
Loki snorted a laugh at her reply, quickly sending another of his own.
L~ Unless we are deliberately trying to draw attention to ourselves, which you did not seem to approve of, it shall be a suit.
M~ Nothing more casual?
L~ I can forgo a tie, if I must.
M~ Don’t worry, we’ll go suited. Wouldn't want to embarrass you!
Loki couldn't tell if she were teasing or serious but he decided to keep his reply light.
L~ I am sure you would do no such thing.
Then he paused before sending another.
L~ Coffee? Before we leave?
Maia paused as the second message came in. She was unsure what to make of it.
M~ Do you mean meet earlier or leave later?
L~ Either would suffice. Do you have a preference?
She did, but it was a third option and she swallowed, typing and deleting it twice before she finally hit send. Why was she so nervous? This was a job.
M~ How about we make it earlier and go for breakfast?
Loki got to his feet, his book dropping forgotten to the floor. Breakfast? She was willing to spend extra time in his company? Maybe he had not been the only one who had felt a spark. He was still considering his reply when Maia sent another message.
M~ Or not. Don't feel you have to! I haven't had a chance to grab any groceries so I have to hit the cafeteria or somewhere anyway.
L~ Breakfast would be splendid.
Loki could not believe how he had replied, assuring her with one short sentence almost on instinct, and Maia equally stared at his message, the four words allaying her worry she was pressuring him.
M~ Eight in the lobby? Bring your appetite?
She replied and he smiled.
L~ I shall be there.
M~ Me too.
Maia had pressed send before she realised how awkward her reply was. She face palmed, blushing heavily, one of her worst things, uncontrollable rosiness at the slightest thing.
L~ I thought perhaps you would be.
Loki smirked as he replied. She evidently had been unsure of what to say.
M~ Okay then. Eight. Until then.
She typed rapidly, hoping not to embarrass herself further.
L~ Until then. Goodnight.
M~ Night.
Maia threw the phone on the bed screen down. She had done a great job of embarrassing herself without even trying and felt flustered, like one of her own hormonal students. Certainly she wasn't old but she had thought herself above getting worked up by a few text messages from men, and this was no ordinary man, this was her job; he was, technically, still an Asgardian prince, not some admirer, not that she remembered what that was like. All the same she couldn't ignore that there was definitely something about her enigmatic charge.



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