Ed sat at a desk in Central command, filling out paperwork that the Colonel had deferred beneath him again. At least that's what he was trying to do. He didn't understand most of it. Admin had never been Ed's strong suit, and they hadn't exactly put much emphasis on this side of the job when training him up to be a State Alchemist. Ed glanced at the clock. "4:45." He thought. Another quarter of an hour before he could go home, and his brain couldn't face having to tick another box. The clock would only run slower in his mind if he kept looking at it. But there wasn't a whole lot left to look at in the office. Probably why he had been assigned to do his work there, so nothing could distract him.
Plenty of other offices in Central had some art on the walls, or at least a potted plant. But craning his neck to look around the room, Ed could see it was just plain walls. Inevitably, Ed was looking at the clock again before he knew it. He began examining the faint reflection cast in the glass face of the clock. The curvature of the glass distorted his face in the reflection, which he found mildly amusing for a couple of seconds. But he had barely killed a minute since he'd set his pencil down.
With that, he turned his chair right around so that he couldn't look at the clock. It was just then he remembered Lieutenant Hawkeye was still there. Another human being, stuck in the same office at quarter-to-five on a Friday. She looked very focused on her work though. Remarkably so. But she always did. Ed didn't have a clue how anyone managed to maintain that level of effort for such repetitive and thankless paperwork. Ed wondered where the Colonel was right now. Funny how there was apparently a lot of work to be done, but on a Friday afternoon he was nowhere to be found. Just two subordinates left to handle the tedious part. "At least Hawkeye is something to look at." Ed thought to himself, snapping out of it immediately after. Where had that come from? His mind had never wandered in that direction when thinking about Lieutenant Hawkeye. He didn't even call her by her first name in his own head.
He kept looking at her. Partially because he couldn't face doing more work or looking at the clock again, but now that he thought about it, she had a nice face. Certainly not the face of someone who had been through a war. Her complexion was as good as flawless, and she didn't appear to be wearing any makeup. Come to think of it, Ed wasn't sure he'd ever seen Riza wear makeup. "Riza." He thought. "It's a Friday afternoon. You can call her by her first name. She's not that uptight."
"Riza?" He called out to her from across the room. She immediately glanced up, sweeping her blonde bangs off of her face. Her big brown eyes were quite intimidating, and caused him to sink back into his chair.
"Edward, is everything ok?" She asked with a concerned tone. He'd done it now. He didn't really have anything to say. He needed to think of something to fuel the conversation. Otherwise he'd be staring at his own reflection in the clock again, and looking like an idiot all at the same time.
"Do you think…" He paused. That was a good start. Asking for an opinion would keep the conversation moving for a few more minutes at least. "Do you think I'm handsome?" He asked, freezing immediately. It was hard to imagine a stupider question he could have asked.
"Well that came out of nowhere." Lieutenant Hawkeye replied. She looked deep in thought for a moment, placing her index finger and thumb on her jawline. "But yeah. I suppose." She shrugged. "In a shy guy sort of way. Yes, I would say you are. Why do you ask?"
That caught him by surprise. He'd be so tied up in rueing his stupid question that he hadn't even wondered what the answer might be, let alone that it might be a 'yes'. That was her though. Straight to the point.
"Oh, thank you." He blushed. "I was just wondering was all. I suppose most girls aren't looking for shy guys though." He didn't consider himself shy. But he could see what she meant. He wasn't the rugged type for sure. He was very short, and still quite boy-ish facially.
Again she looked pensive and smirked. "You'd be surprised. I spend enough time around pseudo-macho alpha males at work without needing to drag them into my personal life. A shy guy might be nice to come home to. Not that I'm looking for a boyfriend." She said, retreating hastily. "That was strange." Ed thought. That was a flicker of embarrassment he'd never seen from Hawkeye before.
"I hear ya." Ed replied, quite cheery at the compliment. "I'm quite short for a guy though. I've always felt it might be a little off-putting."
"Really?" She asked, a tad taken aback. "I mean I'm a bit tall for a woman." She shrugged. "I've never really worried about it though. Besides, you have a kind face. That's a good start in anyone's book."
"Riza, what are you doing this evening?" Ed asked, again freezing. He was bad at this. The words had escaped him before he'd had any chance to think about what he was asking.
"Nothing planned. Why?" She answered. There was no going back now. He'd all but asked already. Worse still, it was so out of sorts that she still hadn't read between the lines.
"I was just…" He paused. Was he seriously about to ask out the Lieutenant? Ed couldn't really think of where else to take this line of conversation. He was at a dead end. At least the worst she could say was 'no'. "I was just wondering if you'd like to go anywhere this evening."
Hawkeye was taken aback. "Like… go out… on a date?" She asked with a slight chuckle. "You do realise I'm literally a decade older than you, right?"
Her laughter cut through him a little more than he was expecting. "No, no. Not like that." He backpedaled. "Just maybe go and get something to eat."
"So dinner with a friend?"
"Well kind of. I haven't really gone out with a woman before. I'm not sure quite to call it."
"So you'd like to practice going on a date with me?" She asked, her tone turning a little more sour. Why was he digging himself deeper into this pit?
"No. Definitely not a practice date. You were closer to the mark with 'dinner with a friend'. What I mean is, if you aren't doing anything, and don't have any plans already as for where you might want to eat food, maybe we could both eat food together."
"Relax. I know what you meant." Riza reassured him, sighing and laughing at the same time. "No need to be so nervous. Next time, just call it dinner. You know where I live, right? I'll be outside my apartment at 7."
How could Hawkeye have known what he had meant? Ed wasn't even sure what he had meant. Was this a date? She hadn't been very clear, but he was afraid to ask again. He could already feel butterflies setting in as he turned around to look at his 'kind face' in the glass of the clock.
"What? Still only ten-to-five?"