#IlynaApartment – May 18, 2021

Ilyna gives the smallest shake of her head to Halisi's words, but she doesn't respond beyond that. Ilyna is as hard on herself as she needs to be. There's a lot on her shoulders, and she cannot afford failure to any of them. She looks down at the chopped-up vegetable as they're shown to her, and back at Halisi. "Put them aside for now," she says. "We need everything ready before we begin heating it up." She begins

chopping up the vegetable on her board, starting with a few lengthwise cuts.

Halisi frowns a little but allows the subject to drop. Ilyna's instructions are met with an "As you wish, madam." as she retrieves her knife and sets the board down on the counter with a flourish. She looks about as silly as the voice she put on sounds. The garlic is gently scooted to the side of the board in a pile before she grabs the pepper and starts chopping again.

Ilyna chuckles at the formal affirmation and a smile does creep up as she stops her own chopping for a moment to watch. She does catch herself slacking eventually, and returns her attention to the chopping board in front of her as she gets to work dicing.

Halisi glances Ilyna's way just as the asari looks away, a similar smile on her own lips. She seems content to finish the chopping in silence, and it doesn't take long, of course. Once she's done she ends up leaning back against the counter, silently watching Ilyna, a thoughtful look on her face.

Ilyna is not far behind Halisi in completing hers, and she steps back for a moment to review the work so far. She looks at Halisi too, and raises one brow at the thoughtful look. "Hm?" she asks. Ilyna doesn't stand around to wait for an answer before she pushes back her cutting board to make space for an empty one for the meat.

Halisi lets out a quiet, slightly embarrassed chuckle at being noticed. "Nothing." she assures, gaze shifting out across the room towards Li, who is still watching cartoons on the TV. For a while she remains silent but then she draws in a bracing breath, voice quiet and serious when she speaks. "I know things got... cut short, earlier. But I was thinking I could stay around until Li's gone to bed. Give us a chance to talk." she

suggests with a glance towards Ilyna, hints of nerves under the serious look on her face. "I don't know how busy work is going to be in the next few days, so it might be a while before the next chance. It's up to you, of course." Regardless of the last addition it's pretty obvious what Halisi wants. Leaving things like this right after such a monumental decision isn't something she's eager to do. There's a whole lot of

thoughts running through her head - this is unexplored territory, and a lot of questions linger about where they stand now, about what this means, and about how things might change. Of course, another part of her just doesn't want to leave, not after what was said, not until she needs to, even if she's struggling to figure out how to act right now. It shouldn't be hard, it should be just like before, but it sure doesn't feel

that way.

Ilyna looks content with the assurance at first, and is about to reach for the tap to wash her hands when Halisi voices what's actually on her mind. Instead, she turns towards her and studies her while listening. "Oh, I...," she begins before falling silent again, glancing towards the couch while she gathers her thoughts. She then takes a step closer and reaches out for Halisi's hand with an apologetic look on her

face. "I would like that," she says, followed by a mutter of, "I... I'm sorry, for making this so complicated."

Halisi looks a relieved by Ilyna's response, a small smile flashing across her lips as she gives her hand a squeeze, the added mutter making her shake her head. "Ilyna. You don't have anything to apologize for." she insists softly, lingering close to the asari. "Yes, things might be a bit complicated, but that's hardly your fault, and besides, I think it should be clear by now that I don't mind complicated, yes?" she says, eyebrows

rising as she waits for a nod, giving Ilyna's hand another squeeze for emphasis.

Ilyna isn't quite convinced by Halisi that she has nothing to apologize for, and she does look unsure for a moment. She could have done the smart choice and laid this all to rest and remained good friends. Now, she has started down an uncertain path on top of everything else going on in her life. "You've made that very clear," she eventually says with a nod. She doesn't move from the spot, however, content to linger

close to her for a while even if it means stomachs has to rumble for another few minutes.

Halisi snickers quietly. "Good." she says through a growing smile, silver eyes darting around Ilyna's face. She lingers for a moment before glancing off to the side towards the couch - Li has started digging in to some of the candy she got for Christmas. "I think we'd best get back to work on dinner before she ruins her appetite." she comments, looking a little amused.

Ilyna is content to stick to her plan of delaying dinner until Halisi speaks up, which causes her to glance Li's way too. On a normal day, she would admonish her for it, but today is not a normal day. She mrirors Halisi's amusement instead, though she looks a bit sheepish. "You're right," she sighs, reluctantly letting go of her hand. "You cut the meat then," she orders before heading over to the fridge to collect

the ingredients for the sauce.

Halisi only lets Ilyna's hand go as the asari slips out of her reach. "I can do that." she assures, smile still on her lips. She lingers, watching Ilyna for a moment before turning and starting to move the tunga filets over to the board. Cooking is good. Something to focus on. There'll be time to talk later, and just the knowledge of that makes her move a little lighter, and makes the smile stay on her face as the knife's edge cuts

into meat.

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