“I don’t know.” She huffed noncommittally, leaning over her coffee cup and watching the brown liquid ripple any time either of them shifted.
“I’ve done ballroom. And, hip-hop. Ballet when I was a kid. You can’t really earn a… Oh! Stripping.” A derisive snort made her coffee splutter. “I could make enough money with that. I took some pole-dancing lessons Freshman year.”
Katara looked up in time to see a flush of pink wash down his cheeks and neck, and quickly enough, color spread across her face, as well. Her heart sank into a sea of embarrassment, sending her gaze away and out the window.
“That was a joke.”
Sort of; but, she wasn’t about to let him onto that. Now that the idea was there, it was something Katara thought she could do… and probably be successful at. That, however, was an entirely inappropriate breakfast conversation to have with her noncommittal, almost one-night-stand, which left her to heave a desperate sigh of relief when Ming interrupted
againwith Zuko’s food.
She followed the waitress’s return to the kitchen, slowly bringing her focus back to her companion with what she hoped was a better topic. “How often are you at your gym? Combat Sports?”
He felt the heat rush across his face, and after her cheeks flushed to match, he wanted to say something. It wasn’t that he was judging her, which is what he assumed her quick glance out the window implied she thought, but that he was trying to not imagine her. At the slightest mention of titillating activity involving her and his mind supplied the appropriate mental display. Or, rather, inappropriate mental display. Still, he readily recalled the rich brown curve of her shoulder, the swell of her breast, the warmth of her collarbone and throat beneath his mouth. Zuko shifted.
Fortunately, he was saved (again) by Ming. She set his food down and glanced at their coffees, obviously gauging whether either of them needed a refill. She topped his off, while Katara declined. Once she left, Zuko felt awkward again, sitting there and being the only one with food in front of him.
Just as he was debating how he could gracefully share his food with her, Katara brought him out of his thoughts, asking about his gym time.
“Almost every day,” he replied, taking the moment to add a bit more cream into his coffee until its shade was almost the same as Katara’s skin. “I teach a few classes there, around my own training. My focus is on muay thai, but recently I’ve been branching out into a few other things. We’ve got a really great Akido program, so I’ve been picking up some classes of that to help teach it as we get more interest.”
He wanted to ask her more about her dancing, to shift the conversation back to that. Or ask her if there were any other Jane Austen movies she liked second to Pride and Prejudice. It was also partly because he was a bit self conscious, talking about himself, but Zuko suspected that was also due to the tension he still felt lingering. If it was because he’d said something wrong, he certainly didn’t want to allow for more opportunity to mess things up more. Mess things up, he echoed silently. Does that mean this is a thing? He hoped so.
Instead, he carefully cut his eggs in half, separating them before taking a forkful from just one of the sides. “I’ve heard that dancing can help with some martial arts, and vice versa.”