Torchwood’s daily meeting was drawing to its close. “Anyone got anything else to discuss before we get on with whatever work needs our attention?” Jack asked.
“Actually yes,” Owen piped up. “Not so much something to discuss, but… Well, Tosh and I have something to tell you.”
“Oh?” Jack gave the medic an enquiring look.
“Yeah, we’re engaged to be married.” Owen couldn’t keep the giddy grin off his face.
Tosh ducked her head, blushing faintly, but looking as happy as Owen did.
“When did this happen?” Jack’s smile was so wide it almost split his head in two.
“I popped the question last night, and she said yes.” Owen looked ridiculously pleased with himself, as well he might; the proposal had gone exactly as he’d planned.
“Congratulations, both of you! This,” Jack announced, “calls for a celebration! We’re all going out for dinner tonight, my treat!”
“How come Rhys and I didn’t get a celebratory dinner when we got engaged?” Gwen asked, sounding disappointed.
Jack shrugged. “I wasn’t here at the time.” He frowned at Gwen, and then at the rest of the team. “Did you guys seriously not go out to celebrate?”
“Oi! Don’t give us that!” Owen snapped, getting a bit defensive. “The four or us were left struggling to keep on top of things after you swanned off on your little adventure. It was all hands on deck; we didn’t have time for meals out at fancy restaurants and stuff like that. Most days we barely had time to grab a slice of pizza and a couple of hours’ sleep.”
Jack’s expression turned guilty. “Yeah, sorry about that. But I’m here now, so Gwen, why don’t you call Rhys and invite him along too? A bit belated, I know, but if Tosh and Owen don’t mind we could make it a double celebration.”
“Fine with us, right Owen?” Tosh said, smiling, and Owen nodded. If Tosh didn’t mind then he wasn’t going to complain; he was in too good a mood.
“Well, better late than never.” Gwen pulled out her phone and called her husband. “Where are we going?”
“I’m thinking maybe the Brasserie?” Jack suggested.
Ianto pulled out his own phone. “Good choice. A bit last minute, but I’ll give them a call and see if they can fit us in.”
Fifteen minutes later, it was all set; a table for six had been booked for eight o’clock that evening. Hopefully that would give everyone plenty of time to get dressed up for the occasion.
The day passed quickly, the Rift keeping everyone busy, and they worried briefly that they might have to cancel their plans and go out to dinner some other day, but by six that evening everything had quietened down so Jack sent the team home to get ready for their night out, saying he’d see them all outside the restaurant at about a quarter to eight.
Jack and Ianto arrived first, having taken Ianto’s car rather than using the SUV. Jack had even foregone his usual World War Two outfit, dressing instead in a smart suit with a striped shirt, but no tie. He didn’t need one since the restaurant’s dress code wasn’t that strict. Ianto still wore one though.
Tosh and Owen arrived a few minutes later in Owen’s convertible, parking alongside Ianto’s Audi. Tosh looked lovely in a simple but elegant purple and white floral dress, while Owen had dressed in a similar fashion to Jack, just opting for a plain white shirt.
“Should we go inside now or wait for the others to arrive?” Ianto asked.
Owen checked his watch; it was ten to eight. “Give them five more minutes and if they’re still not here, we’ll go in and wait for them at the bar. Don’t want our table being given away to somebody else. I’ve been thinkin’ about steak all day.”
“Ah,” Ianto smirked. “And here I was thinking your dreamy expression was because of your beautiful fiancée when in reality the only thing on your mind is what you want for dinner.”
“Oi, I never said that! You’re twistin’ my words!”
Tosh giggled at her fiancé’s outraged expression.
“Give it up, Owen,” Jack advised. “You can’t win.”
Five minutes passed in casual conversation, with no sign of the last two members of their party, so they went inside to wait for their table. Just before eight, Gwen and Rhys finally showed up.
“What kept you two?” Jack asked, grinning at them. “Decide to start the celebrating early or something?”
“The missus couldn’t decide what to wear,” Rhys explained.
“Oh, you liar!” Gwen swatted her husband. “We would have been here ages ago, but we had to stop for petrol and there was a massive queue.”
“Well, you’re here now and that’s what matters,” Tosh said.
“Just in the nick of time too,” Jack added as he heard his name called. “Looks like our table’s ready.”
It didn’t take long to get them seated, and the waiter handed around menus before giving Jack the wine list.
“Anyone have any wine preferences?”
“Depends what we’re all eating, doesn’t it?” Owen said.
“Red with red meat, and white with fish is the general rule, I believe,” Ianto commented.
“Trust you to know that.” Owen looked across the table at his friend. “Is there anything you don’t know?”
“If there is, I’ve never discovered it.” Jack beamed proudly at his lover.
Ianto’s face heated up. “Yes, well… what are we all having?”
Owen didn’t bother so much as glancing at the menu. “I don’t know about anyone else, but I already told you what I’m having; a sirloin steak with all the trimmings. They do the best steaks here.”
“I could go for a steak,” Rhys said.
“Make that three,” Gwen put in. “After today, reckon I can use all the protein I can get.”
“Steak does sound good,” Jack agreed. “Ianto?”
“Why not? You’re paying.”
“Right then, that’s five steaks… Tosh, what about you? Steak?”
“Actually I think I’ll have the Eggplant Parmesan.”
“Traitor!” Owen teased.
“What? I had it a few months ago and it was perfect. I wish I knew the chef’s secret; I’ve tried making it myself but mine always comes out rubbery.”
“Five steaks and an Eggplant Parmesan it is then,” Jack said, closing his menu and taking everyone else’s as they passed them to him. “How about a carafe of the house red to wash them down with?”
“Cheapskate,” Owen accused.
“Actually,” Ianto cut him off, “the house wines are usually excellent. “We could spend more on a bottle and end up with something that doesn’t taste anywhere near as good. I’m no expert on wines, but I’ve never had cause to complain when going with the house’s choice.”
“Fine, house red it is then.”
“Everyone agreed?” Jack looked at each of his colleagues in turn, and Rhys last of all, getting nods of agreement from everyone, so he signalled the waiter.
Service was good, barely ten minutes after ordering, their waiter was bringing the soup they’d chosen, which would tide them over while their entrees were being cooked. Then the wine waiter arrived, filling each of their glasses and leaving the carafe on the table.
“Okay, Ianto was right,” Owen said after taking a sip. “This is a good wine.”
“Always listen to Ianto,” Jack said solemnly. “That should be the first rule of Torchwood.”
“I thought it already was,” Ianto said, straight faced, making everyone laugh.
No sooner had the dishes been cleared away from their first course than the main courses arrived.
“Who ordered the Eggplant?” the waiter enquired.
“That would be me.” Tosh raised her hand and the waiter set her plate in front of her before distributing the steaks from his trolley. Tosh breathed in the aroma from her plate and closed her eyes, mouth practically watering in anticipation. “Ohhhh, it smells heavenly! Thank you!”
“Before we dig in,” Jack said, lifting his wine glass, “a toast, to Toshiko and Owen. May you both find all the happiness together you so richly deserve.”
Everyone else raised their glasses, clinking them together with a chorus of, “Tosh and Owen!”
“And a second, belated toast… Gwen and Rhys, who managed to get married before we could get around to celebrating their engagement.” Jack raised his glass again. “Health, happiness, and a long life!”
Gwen grinned gappily. “Thank you.”
“Yeah, thanks, mate,” Rhys added gruffly.
“Okay, kids, dig in!”
Nobody needed telling twice.
“Didn’t I tell you?” Owen said, pointing his knife at his plate. “Best steaks in Cardiff.”
“Nothing better than a good steak,” Rhys agreed.
“How’s your Eggplant?” Ianto asked Tosh.
“I’ll have to try that sometime.”
“You really should.”
Jack watched his team fondly; they often ate together, pizza, burgers, Chinese, fish and chips, but it was rare for them to go out for a meal like this, all of them together in a proper restaurant. “We should do this more often.”
“What, eat together? We do that all the time,” Gwen pointed out.
Ianto shook his head. “No, Jack’s right; there’s a big difference between lunchtime takeaways and sitting down to a proper meal. It’s good to get away from the job into a more social setting occasionally. We don’t do it nearly enough; I can’t even remember the last time.”
“Maybe you could all come over to ours next time,” Rhys suggested. “I make a mean lasagne.”
“You’re on,” Jack grinned. “It’s a date. I never turn down a free meal!”
“Who said it’ll be free?” Rhys joked. “Maybe I’ll charge admission.”
“You lot can bring the wine and dessert,” Gwen said. “We could take turns hosting.”
“I’ll drink to that!” Jack raised his glass again. “Here’s to us, and many more nights like tonight.”
“Maybe we’ll be celebrating your engagement next,” Tosh suggested.
Jack winked. “You never know!”