He chuckled at her reply. "I mean Chinese food," he clarified, though what he had in mind wasn't truly Chinese, so much as Chinese American. She had said she trusted him, though.
"Are they the ones with the duck pancakes and soft noodles?" she asked, tilting her head curiously. Rhy'Din was such a mixed bag of cultures, it was a wonder she could pinpoint that in the first place.
"Yep, but that's not what I'm making," he said. "It's a surprise," he added, with a gleam in his eyes. It wasn't often he got to play in the kitchen, as Ailis always shooed him away, but he enjoyed cooking now and then.
"Does that mean I have to go away and not watch you cooking?" Leia asked innocently, pretty sure he wasn't going to let her help him cook. Not today, anyway.
"No, you can help, if you want," he told her, though he still wasn't going to tell her what he was concocting. "You can start by cutting up veggies. Can you see if there's any red or green peppers in the fridge?"
"Of course. Would you prefer one color over the other?" Smiling, Leia returned to the fridge, happily pulling open the vegetable drawer to collect what she had been asked for.
"Nope, we need both!" he informed her. He followed that up with further instructions, giving her what amounted to her first cooking lesson. It wasn't the easiest dish to whip up, but it was one of his favorites. Chicken, rice, pineapple, red and green pepper, all covered in a sauce that was known as "sweet and sour". Too bad there was no bottle of sake to go with it, but they made do instead with a couple of beers.
It wasn't that Leia didn't know how to cook - she just didn't know much about cooking human meals. She enjoyed learning from Jake, though, even if his lessons about technology never seemed to stick. And, of course, this lesson had a yummy conclusion, which just made it all the more enjoyable.
He'd even come up with a candle or two for the table, making it as romantic a setting as possible. He lifted his bottle of beer to toast the moment. "To us," he said. "And to a long and happy life together." It was a bit overdue, but better late than never.
"To us," she agreed, tapping the neck of her bottle to his. "All three of us." Sloti wasn't here to object to not being included, just this once.
But Jake misunderstood, thinking she'd either forgotten the baby or the ferret, who were clearly both part of the family. "I think you mean the four of us," he said, smirking as she tapped her bottle to his.
She laughed softly. "Well, the three of us who are here," she corrected herself cheerfully. "I don't think you should be surprised if Sloti decides he is going to be our child's companion, by the way. He likes looking after people."
"Companion or guardian?" Jake asked, as he took up a forkful of chicken and rice mixture. As much as he adored Chinese food, he had never quite got the hang of chopsticks.
"Both," she predicted in amusement, breathing in the sweet and bitter scent of the meal before her. "What is this called, again? Have I had it before?"
"Um, I'm not sure," he said, asking her second question first. "I mean, it's called Sweet and Sour Chicken, and I'm not sure if you've had it before. I don't think Ailis ever made it."
"It does taste both sweet and sour," she agreed through a mouthful. "I like it. And not just because you made it, I like it because it's nice."
"I like it, too! It's one of my favorites," he said, smiling broadly at her, happy and relieved that she liked his cooking. "You know, if we get our own place, we'll have to cook for ourselves."
"I have never cooked for you," she said, a mysterious smile on her face. "I do not think I have had elven food in years, either. It would be fun to see what you think."
"I'm game! Bring it on!" he told her, holding up a fork for emphasis. Leia certainly didn't eat like a rabbit, so how bad could elven food be?
She giggled, pleased with his enthusiasm. "I am already so relaxed here," she said suddenly. "We really have two weeks of just us together like this?"
"Yeah, but ..." A thoughtful frown appeared on his face at her question. "Are you happy, Leia?" he asked, out of the blue.
"Here and now, yes, I am very happy, Jake," she assured him, careful to answer him in a way that wouldn't upset him somehow. She loved his sensitivity, but sometimes she also felt terribly guilty for provoking it.
"I don't mean now," Jake said, trying to clarify his question. "I mean, are you happy with your life in Rhy'Din?" he asked. "Do you ever get homesick? Is there anything you would change if you could?"
"I do not miss Allansia, if that is what you are asking," she said in a gentle tone. "It was a harsh place in which to live, filled with evil men and women who sought dominion over all. I am happy to be in Rhy'Din, with you. I only ..." She sighed, glancing down at her meal. "I sometimes wish we had a real home of our own, that is all."
"I miss my sister and my niece sometimes," he confessed with a small frown, but he couldn't go home, even if he wanted to. There were too many people looking for him; it was too dangerous. It was better they couldn't find him or presumed him dead. "I'm happy here with you, but I'd like a house of our own, too," he said, reaching over to touch her hand.
"We could bring them here, to visit," Leia suggested softly. She knew it had been suggested before, and indeed, they had managed it just once, on the day he had married her. But since then, there had been difficulties in getting his family to Rhy'Din, and she couldn't go to Earth without learning some means of holding a humanising glamour on herself for many hours at a time.
"I know, and we will, but what I mean is ... I think it's time we find a house of our own," he told her, giving her hand a soft squeeze. After all, they were going to have a baby.