A/N- Here's a new chapter one and two, both of which are in third person. Having it from Mitra's POV seemed a bit superficial, but I'm willing to change it back if necessary- let me know!
Chapter One- On the Ego and Burrito.
"…And, uh, green peppers and olives. Just the black ones."
"That it?" The young man behind the counter asked in a bored tone. Mitra Townsend nodded and took out some money as he began rolling the burrito.
"I hear the jalapeños are quite good. You might want to try them," someone murmured behind her. She turned and smiled, surprised to see Will Hamilton, cell phone to his ear, standing in the long, winding line at Chipotle.
"Hey," she replied cheerfully, accepting change from the girl at the cash register.
Will opened his mouth to speak but then turned his attention back to his cell. "Right...is that…huh, well…"
"I'll save us a table," she mouthed, pointing to the window.
Five minutes later, they were enjoying their food in a companionable silence.
It had been about three months since they had last seen each other. After their first, and only, adventure in October, in which they had uncovered a murder and recovered a stolen Buddha, they had been bombarded by papers and finals, so there had been little opportunity to meet.
"So, uh, Will," Mitra began, eyeing her companion. He seemed a bit leaner than she remembered him, but his bright gray eyes shone as he glanced at her. "What did you do for winter break? Why aren't you in England?"
He took a sip of Pepsi before answering. "I have work."
"Oh, a new case?" She asked, rather eager to help him with another investigation.
"Erm, nothing yet, but soon, yeah." Will pulled the foil back and speared a black bean with his fork. "How about you?"
She made a face. "Half of my family is in the Bahamas right now, so I came back early. Plus, I have class."
"Ah, Mitra, always the studious one."
"No, it's a cooking class. At Old Brownstone."
"Old Brownstone, the restaurant."
"Really. I had no idea." He arched an eyebrow.
Mitra apologized quickly, not wanting to insult him, and explained. "I'm taking the class because I figure, last year of college, get out to the real world, no more dining hall. So I might as well learn to cook. It's an investment. Besides," she added, lightly touching her waist and grimacing. "I'd better start watching my weight, especially now that the holidays are over."
He smiled broadly. "That's brilliant. I had planned on eating at McDonald's until I died of clogged arteries, but now I have a chef right here to cook for me."
Mitra scoffed and glanced out the window as Will took another sip of his drink. People were scurrying about through the snow flurries that were coming down, and, among them were Mitra's roommates, Vicky and Monique. She hurriedly tapped on the glass as they walked by Chipotle and waved, as they acknowledged her and hastened in.
Greetings went around once they reached their table. They declined Mitra's offer of joining them, saying they wanted to get to Panda Express before all the orange chicken was gone. Mitra then introduced them to Will, who was busily scrutinizing them.
"Too bad Metro was late or you would have been able to reach the movie earlier," he noted.
Monique gaped at him as Vicky gave a snort of derision and brushed snow from her blonde hair. "Someone obviously told you."
He raised an eyebrow. "No, actually. Your Metro and movie tickets are sticking out of your pocket. I see you got off at Gallery Place but your stub for Hotel Rwanda is nearly two hours later. Therefore, because of the snow and Metro falling behind, you arrived at the E Street Cinema late and had to go to a later show."
"Q.E.D.," Mitra added.
"Yes, thank you, Q.E.D."
Vicky glared sourly at him before turning to her friend. "So, what's up?"
"Nothing. We were just talking about that cooking class I'm taking."
She rolled her eyes. "It's so stupid. We've come so far for equal rights and now you're taking this cooking," (she choked the word out as though it was some horrible disease), "class and going back to being-" She turned to Will, who had been staring unabashedly at her. "What?"
He shrugged, the look on his face feigning innocence. An awkward pause in the conversation followed.
"So, your roommate didn't come," Monique said eventually to Will.
"No, er, he's working on his thesis."
"Oh," she replied.
"Hey, maybe you could introduce us sometime, Will," Mitra said brightly. "I'd like to meet Dante."
"Sure, but I'll be a bit busy for the next few weeks."
"Well, erm, the new term is going to start and, like I said, there's work-"
"That's not true," Vicky interrupted quickly. "Someone's coming to visit him. From England." She smiled sweetly at him as it was his turn to look sour. "A little birdy told me."
Mitra gaped at him, her blue eyes lighting up. "Really? Oh, Will, this is so exciting!"
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because you would fuss over it."
"You know me so well," she said, smiling. "Who is it?"
He glared exasperatedly at them. "An old friend."
"Really? How long have you known this person?"
"Since primary school. We haven't seen each other in a few years. She'll be coming to do some photography work."
"She?" Vicky muttered in a disbelieving tone.
Will raised his cold, piercing eyes to her. "Yes, 'she'. You know, ovaries, breasts, that whole bit."
"Thanks, I know what being a woman means."
He raised his eyebrows in mock surprise. "Do you? Only I never would have suspected you of understanding."
She opened her mouth in surprise and didn't speak for a few seconds. Her face turned red as she muttered something about orange chicken and stomped out. Monique rolled her eyes and waved at them before following her.
When they were once again alone, Mitra frowned at Will. "That wasn't very nice."
"It was actually rather amusing, I thought." He smiled impishly.
"But Vicky's my friend," she protested, not knowing how Will could be so acerbic.
"Don't know how you can stand her, but all right."
"Will! I would never do that with any of your friends."
"Well, you might, considering how some of them are." His expression took on something that looked vaguely apologetic. "All right, I was extreme, albeit justified. I won't do it again."
She scrunched her brow. "Really?"
He squinted. "So long as she's not around, yeah. Anyway, I had better go. I've got some things to do." And he left, leaving Mitra to contemplate the ego over the remainder of her chicken burrito.