Different Kind of Christmas Dinner


mohinder_icon.gif nalani_icon.gif rami_icon.gif

Scene Title Different Kind of Christmas Dinner
Synopsis Rami brings over Mohinder for Christmas Eve dinner with his sister. There's an ulterior motive, some revenge and in the end, a great time had by all that isn't for once, interrupted by phones. Because they're turned off.
Date December 24, 2008

Nalani's Condo

Mohinder has changed his clothes, putting on a stylish but tasteful suit. He sits next to Rami in the passenger seat, with the seatbelt on and glances over, "Well, I'll probably take at least a couple of days. I don't know what to do if I'd be away from work for more than that."

"Have you any side projects? Things to do in a different field, that uses a different methodology? That might refresh you if you can't stand to be occupied. Or a hobby," Rami grins brightly. "I play tennis occasionally. But I also hunt for possibly nonexistant animals. Well, not -literally-, of course." He steers the black sedan towards the parking garage of Nalani's upscale building. He hits the garage opener on the visor and the gate rattles up.

Mohinder ponders this, "No, I've been concentrating singularly on this adn its various aspects. There's quite a bit to choose from to work on. So usually there's something to do no matter what. I haven't found anything casual to work on, or that has caught my attention. Perhaps I should though, Rami. It might lead to something of a social life, much to the Company's chagrin."

"Oh, I doubt it would be chagrin. Especially if the shrinks have anything to say about it," Rami chuckles. "All work and no play and all that." He pulls into a marked spot and gets out of the car. The back door is opened to grab the bags of groceries. "Could you grab the two on your side there? Thank you." He's also got a bottle of wine. There's even a doorman at the side-door from the parking garage. "Hello. Richard, right?" The doorman looks surprised, but nods. "Come on then. If she's not home yet, I have a key." He starts towards the elevator.

Mohinder smiles, taking the bags and walking along. He nods shyly to the doorman as he carries the bags. "This is very true..though it seems the psychologists don't necessarily bother the other doctors in the lab. Professional courtesy and all that."

It's not the penthouse, though she could afford it, but it's a sight near close. The building extremely upscale. A contrast probably to what Rami's is. When the elevators dings on the 8th floor, it spills the two men out into a checkboard marble hall and yellow diamond walls. Two apartments rest on this floor and it's the one to the right that the two are looking for, with it's dark wood door and knocker.

No, Rami doesn't live in somewhere as opulent as this. Even if he did have the cash, it just doesn't suit him. He's a man who enjoys things…simpler, unfussy, uncomplicated. It's a major difference between the siblings. "Ah, here we are. Would you mind knocking? I fear I'm going to shatter this nice Merlot all over the carpet if I try."

Mohinder nods, "Not at all, Rami." he bundles both bags to one side and makes three rapping sounds with the knocker. He looks a little nervous. He steps back, "I can say I've been looking forward to this since you've mentioned it."

Rami doesn't have an image to support. His sister does. From within the vaunted hallowed ground that is Nalani's home comes an "One moment!" The voice familiar to Rami, not to Mohinder. One moment later the door swings open and Nalani's present, grinning, looking very much earthly and not at all unearthly as she's usually seen. Jeans, bare feet, hair back in a headband and flowing free, a red short sleeved shirt and potholder in hand. Inside the entryway, it's polished decor, dark parquet flooring in a star pattern. "Akhy! I have been making dessert!" It's a muddled english tone, as if the posessors was caught somewhere in developing years away from place of origin. Her brown eyes land on Mohinder. "And here's your friend you said you were bringing. Come in, come in. Consuela is off for the holidays with her family. I can't bear to make her work today, but she left things set up so that I wouldn't be at your complete mercy!"

"Oh now Ahkti, since when is my cooking something to need mercy from?" Rami smiles and leans forward to kiss Nalani on each cheek after setting the groceries down. "Nalani, this is Doctor Mohinder Suresh. Mohinder, my sister, Nalani Hollingwood." He lets the two make their introductions while he hauls the supplies towards the kitchen. "Well. The room isn't on fire yet. That bodes well." And then to Mohinder, "My sister started making a lot of money when she was sixteen. I'd be surprised if she knows how to crack an egg." It's a tease.

Mohinder smiles and sets the bags to one hip as he offers his hand, "My pleasure to meet you, Miss Hollingwood." he says, but only after a quick double take. Wow. "Umm. Yes, very much my pleasure." he glances to Rami, "She's one step ahead of me, then. I'm afraid I don't even know how to boil water!"

"Boiling water is hard, cracking eggs, are not, but do not ask me to seperate them" Rami's kissed affectionately on the cheek and Nalani lets him pass. The potholder is transferred to her off hand so she can take Mohinders. She lens forward, an air kiss placed to the other man's cheek. 'Lies, it's all lies what he tells you about me. Come in, come in, please. Let me take the bags, you can lay your jacket across the chair, kitchen is through to the left. I don't use the formal dining room when it's just Rami and I. Please" It's a wide grin on the exotic woman's face and she easily plucks up the two bags without so much as a by your leave. 'Ahhhhhhky! They're soooo heavy. What did you bring? Bricks?!" They're not, she's just teasing him back. "Cellphones OFF gentlemen! For at least a few hours. I'll not have you both running off in the middle of the turkey"

"It's lentils, my love. And a few cans of chickpeas. It's not going to break your back. Bring them here, for god's sake." Rami sheds his suit jacket and loosens his tie. His sleeves are rolled up as he starts to pull out pots and pans. "Who would like a glass of wine, then? I brought a bottle, Nal. Though I've no doubt you have something much more lavish in that giant wine cooler of yours." He moves around his sister's kitchen with the same comfort as if it were his own. He doesn't have to think where utensils are, or the wine glasses that are set on the counter.

Mohinder can't help but smile when the two start in on each other. He does take out his cellphone and turn it off. It's all very much a blur to the methodical and slow nature of the scientist. He'll adapt, though, as scientists always do.

"See Rami, he turns his off!" The bags are put on the counter within his reach. "Mr. Suresh, or shall I call you Mohinder? I have red, white or a blush. I have also other drinks if you like" She gestures to the fredge, and also to a built in wine cooler. Though there's already a red out, decanted and been sitting to warm up to room tempurature. Wine glasses hand from racks above the island. For all that the rest of the house looks ordered, set out, perfect, the kitchen looks lived in and used, everything within reach despite it's size. The table off to the one end is already set with plates bowl, everything but on a more intimate and smaller scale. "You work in the same division as Rami I assume. He never tells me what he does, my mysterious big brother. He just spoke that he was bringing someone for dinner" She's always moving a veritable amaozn whirlwind.

"Now now akhti, don't put the good doctor in a spot by grilling him on his work too much. Then you'll just get frustrated at him as you do with me. And that's no way to start a…friendship." Ah-hah. Two can play at the set-up game, though that's not Rami's only motivation for dragging the geneticist out. "Red for me, please. Mohinder, I'm going to jump to a conclusion and assume you don't mind a good bit of heat in your food."

Mohinder smiles, "The red is just fine, thank you, and yes - I work at the same facility as Rami here." he says, being a little vague on purpose as he's not sure what Rami has already said. "May I help with the table setting?" he asks, helpfully? He nods to Rami, "It's been a while since I had a good, authentic curry. And that's counting when I was still in Chennai." he says. He turns back to Nalani and grins.

'Ahky! You didn't!" bemoans, with much drama, fake, as she can muster" She reaches over to tweak his ear before she reaches up to slide three glasses from the hanging rack. "He has gotten you here under false pretenses Mohinder. I think he's getting back at me, as well as I surmise, trying to prod you. You can pour the wine, I need to get the puffs from out of the oven" They're slid in front of Mohinder while she moves around the kitchen, knowing just where to not get in her brother's way. "When your not being vauge and secretive like my brother Mohinder, what do you like to do?" The light for the oven is switched, a doubel stacked sunk into the wall affair and when what she see's appeases her, the woman begins the process of taking out the contents of the oven. It seems there's to be no traditional christmas dinner with this pair.

Rami seems to be quite adept at curries, since there's no recipe book in front of him and he goes about preparing things in the way most people might put together spaghetti. "Oh, I did nothing, dear sister. Just decided we needed an intermediary or we'd spend all evening sniping at each other." Not that it seems to have helped so far. He's clearly a different man around his sister, from Mohinder's perspective. For one, he smiles more. For two, the coldness that always lingers near the surface seems to have been pushed back. He seems genuinely relaxed. "Why don't you put some music on, doctor? I'm sure my sister's stereo is foolproof." Ah, another dig.

Mohinder goes to pour the wine, A generous amount. "I..umm..work. Alot." he says, a little shyly. He looks between the two, "Prod me? Well, he did say I needed out more…and like he just mentioned, said I would be good at deflecting some of the sniping." he pauses, "I brought score cards, to that end." he says, looking deadpan as he makes the joke. He wanders toawrds the radio, letting the joke linger, "Foolproof, hmm? I can run scientific equipment. Electronics are just as much a mystery to me, too." he sips his wine and gives the controls a once over.

The state of the art system is somewhere else in the house, though this might be just as complicated. FOr luck though, there's a selection of CD's and its' all set up to jsut press play after inserting. "Huzzah, Ahky! He sniped back! Now we need three score cards. I think you have brought a winner! Pick something Mohinder, it is your choice for music. I tend to keep music that Rami loves here, since we both have similar tastes in that fashion" She leans over, planting another kiss on Rami's cheek while she reaches for the wine that was poured. 'You lovely brother of mine, bringing me such nice gifts like new company. Cook faster slave!!" Back to the popovers, using the handtowel to carefuly get eachone out of the muffin tin, to cool on a wire rack. "So, you are a scientist, not an engineer. A piece of the puzzle is solved, What isn't solved still, is what you enjoy doing when not deflecting, and scientificing things"

Rami chews on a baby carrot that he's using for one of the recipes. Hey, cook's perrogative to snack whilst preparing. He sips from the wine. "If you tell me to cook faster again, you might just find your portion overloaded with cumin." He deadpans. Then, "Mohinder and I were just discussing the topic of hobbies, actually. I'm sure if you're not careful, my sister will foist something upon you."

Mohinder chuckles as he looks through the CDs and smiles as he selects one and puts it in the machine. He pushes the button and Harry Connick, Jr's piano and voice begins to fill the apartment with christmas standards. "That might necessarily not be a bad thing. As I mentioned..I have work…and work." he shrugs, "Time has gone so fast that I've literally lost my life, such as it is, to my work. It's mayhap time to figure out how to have one again."

"What are you doing New Years eve then Mohinder? I throw a party every year, charity function. Four course meal and then silent auction. I'd be happy to offer myself as your date. You have a tuxedp yes? I usually try to get Rami to go, but maybe i'll subject you to such, especially since I think that may be why Rami brought you over. I have a great many hobbies, you'd be welcome to borrow some. lets see, there's helping out at St. Johns on thursdays. I volunteer at the kitchen, much to Ahky's displeasure at such. There are a litany of movie premiers that I am always invited to"

Mohinder blinks at the offer, "I..I could certainly get one. That could be fun, yes. I've promised Rami here, that between Christmas and New Years I will be on vacation from the lab. Though I will have to periodically go in it wouldn't be for more than a couple of hours every couple of days, just to document sample progression."

"Nalani likes to shock people by spontaneous shows of generosity while wearing her mink," Rami drawls. He grins as he goes about cooking and spicing the food so that it's just so. It doesn't take long, with the strength of the spcies, for the whole room to smell exotic. It might not be stuffing and turkey, but it's warm and comforting nonetheless. When the whole date-exchange happens, he tries to hide a little smug grin. Ah-hah. Revenge is his. "You need a lab assistant to do that sort of thing for you, Mohinder."

"Building a stronger soldier Mohinder?" Nalani teases even as she finishes with the pop overs, letting them cool while she relishes the taste of the wine on her lips. She grabs the bottle to study it before bumping her hip agains Rami's. 'I do not wear my mink while serving food to those in less desirabel circumstance. I do own a few pieces of polyester and non dry clean only clothing" She stincks her tongue out at him before she dissolves into earthy laughter. "Bring your chequebook, and a tux, I can have a car sent for you. It's a glittering night and you'll be exhausted by the end but it's all for charity"

Mohinder glances to Rami and can't help but grin, "Seems like I might've done well to wait and save up those paychecks. This sounds like it could be an expensive hobby," then he looks to Nalani, "but fair enough. I'll be ready on both counts." he sips his wine and looks to Rami once again. "I would have an assistant do it, but I feel like I work them too much already, and I've given them the same time off as myself. I hope there's no problem with that."

"Oh, don't look at me, Mohinder. I'm not your superior. I'm sure it's perfectly fine if the vacation request was granted. Besides, I'm sure if your assistant is even as half as dedicated as you, the time off would be welcome." He glances to Nalani. "Now ahkti, don't try to milk the good doctor dry. He is a public servant, you know. They don't pay us what they should."

"Every little bit counts and you know it. I'm very adept at getting tight purse strings to relax" She's quite famous for that. Normally stingy people have no problem cutting a cheque for the vivacious woman and her charities. "besides, everything raised goes to help rebuild and clean more of the ruined area's. I will see this place restored if its' the last breath I take. Now, mohinder, momo, may I call you momo? Shoudl we sit and talk and leave Rami here to cook still. His curry is divine and I thrived on it all through fashion week every year. Secret to my walk? Rami's cooking"

Mohinder ums, "Umm.." he stammers, "Sure..Momo is fine, I suppose. I've never had anyone call me that, but there's a first for everything.." he says amiably. "If Rami doesn't mind, I think that would be lovely." he says, sipping his wine. He doesn't comment on the walk because, well, just imagining such a thing..well. He sips his wine again.

"Now dear, don't you think it's a little early to be giving the poor man pet names?" Oh, what has Rami begun? Poor Mohinder. "Go, go. Have a seat. I'll get this done faster if I'm not conversing anyway." He gives both of them a grin.

They're just going across the room to the table set up. Rami's spot the head of the table since he's the man of the family and in nalani's great respect. Regardless that he often runs out on her during things like this. "Momo it is" Forming the syllables with her pink lipsticked lips. "Ignore him. he gets like this with his food making. Perfectionist. It really did get me through many a night out doing what I did, and many a catwalk. So, scientist, surely, before you became a scientist, you had other hobby's other than staring at petri dish's"

Mohinder sits down opposite Nalani, understanding the placesettings and the respect involved there and he of all people having no wish to show insult or disrespect. He grins, "Well, if it's as good as I hear, he can take all the time he needs for it." as he raises his glass towards Rami in salute of his culinary skills. "I did, but to be honest, I was a child in those days. I played football, that much I remember. That was about it, though. Once I got to university, I pretty much threw myself into my work." he sips his wine. "As hard as it is to believe." he explains, "It's easy to just lose track of time. Weeks become months, become years, and you look up and all you have is your work."

There's no conversation coming from Rami. There is however, a kind of tuneless humming to go along with the sizzle of hot oil, the pop of packages being opened and the warm, spicy smells that waft from the kitchen.

'So, with no base from which to jump off of, other than football, and I assume you mean soccar, and not football football, leaves me with not much to start off of…." She drums her fingers on the table top, a medium worn oak piece that doesn't fit with the rest of her apartment. "There's Art…?"

Mohinder nods, "Indeed. Soccer, not American Football. I think I'd be crushed if I were to try that." he says with a chuckle. "I honestly don't know if I have any artistic qualities. Appreciation, certainly - creation? No clue."

"Hmm, surely you have some manner of creation, your a scientist, i'm sure. I'll take you to a friends gallery. He makes pieces of art and has been begging me to come and try my hand at some things, i'll bring you with me" She has one elbow on teh table, leaning into it, hand supporting jaw. One jean clad leg bent up on the seat the wine glass hanging over the arm of the chair from that hand. "You like to eat?"

Mohinder smiles broadly at the question, "Ah! That is one thing that I /know/ I'm definitely good at." he says, looking at Nalani, then back to watching Rami cook, then back to Nalani as he tries to keep everyone included.

'So, foot, possibly art, that leaves what? Biking? When it's not snowing ten inches on the ground. Movies? Travel? Opera?" She brings the glass up to take a sip from it, giving him profile instead of head on. But soont hat ends as well and she looks back to him. "I think Rami wins the blinde date contest. I'm glad he invited you"

"Come on then. Food's on." Some of it, Rami prepared earlier. Like the steamed rice. And the roti is not hand-made. It just needed to be warmed on a griddle. The falafel too, was warmed up. Everything else is fresh though. He starts to load plates out. First is a pile of roti and a large bowl of rice. This is followed by a plate of pakoras. There's also fragrant dahl and vegetable korma. It's a veritable feast worthy of Christmas, even if it's not a traditional spread.

Mohinder blushes a bit at Nalani's statement, "I don't know, I guess I would be open to trying as much as I can." when she says she's pleased that he's here, he says "Well, thank you. Though I'm afraid I keep missing the blind date references?" he asks, looking between the two curiously, his own accent still very rich and not at all dulled down by Western exposure. That confusion quickly melts when rami says food is ready. He gets up to help bring plates to the table so Rami can more quickly come to the table.

'Food!" Squeals Nalani, almost reverted to near childlike nature. Her glass placed on the table, she unfolds from her relaxed stance to make for the counter and the bowls, plates and platters of food. Time tos huttle them from there to the table. "Rami has been enduring my efforts to find a good woman for him, someone to distract him from work and relax him. He's far too uptight! Rami threatend that he would find me someone, inflict the same on me. You Momo, are my blind date"

"Oh now Nalani, that isn't entirely true," says Rami as he sets a few jars of condiments on the table. "This isn't a date, else I wouldn't be here. Or I would have made tracks by now. This is three people who haven't any plans individually enjoying each others' company over food that isn't turkey." He goes into the kitchen to retrieve his glass so that he can refill it. "Please. Everyone have a seat and help yourself. No use standing on any kind of ceremony."

Mohinder returns to his seat, and does wait for his hosts to go first. There's standing on ceremony and then trying to break years of manners that he's learned. "Well, in either event I think I could imagine being in worse situations than spending an evening with a good friend and his beautiful sister - blind date or no notwithstanding. So that said, thank you Rami for thinking of me for the holidays, and thank you Nalani for opening your home to me." he says with sincere warmth.

|"Tehn he will be my blind date. Hence, I was asking what he enjoys!" Nalani grabs Mohinders plate with her hand, a gesture to the food and starts one by one to load his plate up for him with whatever he gestures to. A little somthing for everyone. "Every event I attend, in December, without fail, is turkey. I'm tired of turkey, i'd die for some venison, or a good osso bucco with a cranberry glaze. But then Rami, without fail, always shows up and makes me dinner, for as long as I can remember. Only did he miss it once, and even then, he made up for it. My brother is a good man. Always looking out for others first before himself"

"-That- is not entirely true either. I look out for you, ahkti. But that doesn't always extend to others," Perhaps he's being modest, given his career. Perhaps not. Rami serves himself, putting generous amounts on his plate. Then to Mohinder, "She keeps trying to get me to cook her duck or, yes, venison. Then I remind her for the thirtieth time that I'm nearly a vegetarian. I suppose it's my own fault for a youth spent eating salisbury steaks, fried chicken and questionable meat pies. And you're quite welcome, Mohinder. We're happy to have you."

Mohinder isn't picky about what he gestures too - it all looks good. He picks things out at random, again blushing at being served. He's not used to it. "I myself haven't had much meat, but I think the only thing I wouldn't be willing to go for is beef. The rest? Well..it's fun to try new things - even if I haven't done so in a long time." he grins, and begins to sample the spread when his plate is put in front of him. He makes a deep purring mmmmm sound. "Oh that's so good - you two are brilliant!" he says appreciatively.

'Ahky is brilliant, I jsut provide the kitchen" She starts to serve herself, the men served first. She may be a libralist in the worl dof women in the workplace but at home, and throught he many years of studying beside Rami when he was younger, she has certain personal rules and behavior when in private. Satisfied the the men are appeased, she settles in to eat her own food. She's mannerly, no tiny bites. IT's a more inviting table that lends to the occasional open mouth and sounds of delight while consuming quantities and at point she even forgoes utensil, using her hands instead to eat.

Rami frowns down at the dahl. "Not the right balance in the curry." Of course, he'd find fault in it. "The pakoras are a little rubbery." He drops a bit of jarred chutney onto his place. "And I -really- should have made this fresh." Still, he eats, inclining his head now and again in apparent satisfaction with the food he's prepared.

Nalani, mouth fill with food, swallow just enough of it to be able to speak around said rubbery noshings. 'Shut up and eat Rami. It's good. Stop beign so critical or I'll sick Alexandra from the wardrobe department on you"

Mohinder nodsnods in between bites of food, "I don't see how you can find fault in any of this. It's like having a taste of home - oh! That reminds me..I did bring enough of the chai for tea afterwards." he says, just remembering.

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