Word from Fido: Oi mates! So this one-shot has been doing laps in my head for a while now and I finally got around to writing it. I'm still not sure what it's about O_O but I had loads of fun writing it. I find this piece to be even more entertaining if you imagine both characters with accents: the guy's British and the chick's French Canadian. So, hope you folks are enjoying the summertime and hope this brightens your day! With all my love,
"Can I ask a stupid question?"
I licked my thumb and flipped a page to my book. The onion thin paper creaked and she twisted her head to stare at it. She huffed, disappointed, when it refused to rip. My eyes scanned the words, ghosting over the lettering a fraction of a second before flipping to the next line.
"I certainly wouldn't doubt your ability to formulate pointless questions," I flicked my gaze at her over the book. "If you feel inadequate in those regards, I can assure you that you've proven more than once your superiority in gormless enquiries."
Her head inched forward as I returned to my aged book and flipped another page. It remained in between its brothers, happily snuggling against the thick binding. She mumbled something in french and I only recognized the words 'immigrants' and 'Europe'. And then she flopped back against the armchair.
"Alright, then. May I ask you a stupid question?"
Now I closed the book and took off my glasses. I pinched the bridge of my nose with my other hand, drawing a deep, exaggerated breath.
"Désirée..." I took another deep breath. "Oh, Désirée, Désirée..."
"Get on with it, you dramatic Brit."
I fixed her mop of curly chestnut hair, the rest of her features blurring without my lenses. But it made for a more dramatic effect, so I kept the glasses off and leaned forward in my own chair.
"Dearest Désirée, first you demand to know if you are capable of idiotic questions, which is quite doltish of a query to start with. Then, after I acknowledge your wonderful knack with half-baked, senseless interrogations, you wish to know if you have my permission to pose such a..."
"Ayden, will you do me a favour and shut up?"
I shrugged, gently placed my specs on the tip of my nose and continued reading. Inwardly, I was smirking as she sagged back against her settee, clearly not amused by my antics. I flicked another page over but she pointedly ignored me this time. I let my attention revert to the book. Désirée wasn't exactly a patient person, and it wouldn't be long before...
"So...what are you reading?" Her voice was resigned, defeated.
"Is that the stupid question you wanted my permission for?"
Silence was my answer and though she tried to act cool, I knew her enough to tell that she was probably counting backwards from ten at the moment, or rolling her tongue inside her mouth or some other odd habit these Canadians seemed to have. But when her silence persisted, I felt obliged to answer.
"I am currently reading a compilation of essays centring around advertising campaigns used during the Second World War by the yanks."
There was a slight pause as I turned to the next page, followed by a horrified whisper:
"Why would you read that?"
"Is that the stupid question..."
"No." Flat and quick.
"Just for my personal pleasure, then."
She deflated completely and laid down on the red couch, staring at the ceiling. Her face was set in an anguished grimace.
"But why do you have to read in the library?"
Let it be noted that she said 'library' the way ancient Greeks said 'Tartarus'. With fear, loathing and a hint of disgust.
"Believe it or not, dearest Désirée, the library is where I find most of my books."
In a show of great immaturity, she proceeded to repeat my previous sentence with an annoyingly high pitched voice and an interpretation of my accent that would have made my aunt Bonnie cry. And my aunt Bonnie was deaf.
"Can't we go outside?" she asked. "You can read out in the sun."
"You know my fair skin won't allow me to linger in the sun's vengeful rays."
"You can read under a tree..."
"Or," I lowered my book a fraction to give her my sternest visage, "you can sit still for a few minutes and relax. You might even try to pick up a few books and learn new things. Or have they still not taught you how to read? The canadian curriculum is ever so odd..."
She did pick up a book, finally, but only to throw it at me. It smacked against my arm and fell unceremoniously to the floor. I tried not to wince, both from the pain in my limb and my horror at seeing a book treated so barbarically.
"We went running this morning, you know," I reminded her.
"But it's still so nice outside!"
It was my turn to ignore her as I gently replaced the abused book on the table separating me from the pouting girl. Her pout transformed into a glare and, when that failed to garner a reaction from me, she simply sigh and returned her attention to the ceiling. I was able to enjoy a few minutes of blissful peace before she felt the need to speak up again.
I grunted, my patience wearing thin. She struggled a while on the sofa until her body was facing me. Her head rested on her arm.
"Honestly, can I ask you a really stupid question?"
I flicked my gaze to her for a chivvy, taking in her thoughtful frown and her twitching hamstrings. I let my eyes rest on the suddenly uninteresting paragraphs in my lap.
'Loose lips might sink ships' was a slogan coined by the US Office of War Information in an effort to prevent information from leaking to enemy spies. It's meaning is quite clear: unguarded talk might lead to harmful information reaching...'
"Ayden, how come we've never kissed?"
I froze for a few seconds. Was she joking around? I studied her out of the corner of my eyes, only to find that she was examining me just as intently... much too intently for my taste... so no, this did not seem to be one of her lame attempts at being amusing.
"That is a stupid question," I told her.
She blinked lazily at me, not really seeming to care. I sighed.
"We've never kissed, dearest Désirée," I said, "because we are not dating."
She turned her head to the ceiling and I returned to my book, a feeling akin to concern simmering in my gut. But she did not press the subject and I let myself relax, chalking another one to her outrageous behaviour.
I should have known better. I heard her shuffle about and my whole body tensed.
"You can't tell me that you've only kissed girls you've gone out with."
"I am a gentleman, and a British one at that. I've only ever kissed girls that I've gone out with."
The question as to what her standards were when it came to snogging blokes hatched in my mind, but I wisely kept my mouth shut. This terrain was much too dangerous for two friends such as us to tread and...
"We've gone out, haven't we?" she asked. "We go out all the time."
"True, but not in the right context to indulge in... intimate activities."
I had given up on the stupid book after realizing that I'd read the same line a dozen times and still had no idea what the ruddy hell it was trying to tell me.
"And what would the 'right context' include?"
"We're friends, Désirée," I snapped, all but glaring at her.
She returned my gaze with unshakable calm. It was quite frightening, to be honest. Désirée did not have the habit of acting like anything older than a ten year old. But a ten year old would never, ever, look at someone the way she was looking at me at that moment. I frowned.
"What are you playing at?" I asked.
She frowned, too. She shrugged and for a few seconds we just stared at each other. I was surprised to find that she looked just as confused as I was. She shrugged again and then she was reaching up and treading her fingers through her hair, herding the curls into a high ponytail and tying it off. Pale skin was revealed over a delicate neck, so unlike the rest of her. I let my eyes roam up her jawline, to her cheek bones all the way to her ears.
She said something, but by God I could not have told you what if my life had depended on it.
"Huh?" was my intelligent reply.
"I said," she was absolutely mischievous now, "you have a thing for ponytails. I just need to tie my hair and you can't keep your eyes off of me."
I uncrossed my legs and leaned forward, joining the tip of my fingers and tapping them against each other. This was not good, this was not good...
Much to my dismay, she kept talking.
"I also happen to have the sexiest pair of legs you've ever seen." Obviously, my attention was drawn to the long limbs she was currently stretching. She grinned victoriously. "And though you find my cockiness to be really annoying most of the times, you can't help but like it. Oh, and you only do everything in your power to piss me off because you think I'm hot when I'm mad."
She flipped her legs over and sat much in the same manner as me, cheek in her hand. She leaned forward, eyebrow rising inquisitively. I tried to stop myself, I really did. If I started to play her game, I'd be doomed.
She was irresistible.
"Are you suggesting, miss Deschamps, that I am attracted you?"
A quirk of her lips revealed perfect teeth.
"I'm not suggesting it, mister Knight, I'm telling you: you want to kiss me. You've been dying to do it for months now."
I pinched the bridge of my nose with my fingers. Then I removed my specs and proceeded to clean them with the hem of my shirt. She didn't move all the while, simply drumming her fingers against her cheek. I replaced my glasses and stared at her with renewed attention.
If she wanted to play...
"You love the accent," I said. Her eyes widened a fraction with surprise. Hadn't expected me to play along? "In fact, my voice is the sexiest thing you've ever heard. I just need to whisper your name... Désirée..." Her breath hitched. "Désirée..." Tiny goosebumps crawled over her arms.
"Accent de merde..." she cursed.
"You'll come up with the stupidest excuses to make me take off my shirt, because you are absolutely crazy for my shoulders. You think my eyes are the perfect shade of blue, and you're not quite sure if I'm sexier with or without the glasses. Oh, and despite your early misconceptions that British people have bad teeth," I flashed her a devilish grin, "you transform into a puddle of fluttering heartbeats whenever I smile."
She smirked and made a small sound in the back of her throat that almost sounded like a purr.
"Are suggesting, mister Knight," yup, she was definitely purring, "that I am attracted to you?"
"I'm not suggesting it, miss Deschamps, I'm telling you: you want me so much, it drives you crazy. I'm all you think about. I'm all you dream about."
She blushed a bit at that and my male ego swelled. Her cocky demeanour faltered for a moment before it was erected back into place. She twirled a finger in her hair as she barrelled on with her next words.
"Which brings us back to the question: why haven't we kissed?"
"You're awfully persistent today, you know that?" I informed her as my book found its place in front of my face again.
"The matter came to my attention, and after much investigating and consideration I found that I had yet to find a suitable answer to my query."
I whistled, impressed. "By God, I think some of the words you just used contained more than three syllables."
She scowled at me and I dove back into the pages of my book, which had lost any interest it had pertained previous to this conversation. And yes, I was diving back into the social impact slogans like 'loose lips sink ships' to escape her. To escape what her loose lips had awakened in me. To escape anything that I may – or may not – have thought of doing to Désirée Deschamps.
She had slumped back against the couch, an arm draped over her eyes as though she were blocking out the sun. Maybe the whole slogan had nothing to do with the war and enemy spies. Maybe the slogan was warning men against women that talked too much. Her words had shaken me and if I were to make a cheesy metaphor, she was definitely sinking all the ships that transported my rationality. She was like that.
"So?" she mumbled.
"So?" I repeated.
"Do you have a suitable answer for my query?"
"We're friends, Désirée. That's what we are, what we've always been. As attracted as we may be to one another..."
"Isn't that all there is to it?" she interrupted me. "I like you, you like me?"
"I like you, you like me, let's make out? Of course that's not all there is to it!"
Our voices had risen to an unreasonable level. Other students craned their necks towards the commotion to either stare curiously or frown disapprovingly. It was nothing compared to the angry glare that I was receiving from the girl across from me. I was definitely grateful for the table between us.
"We're friends," I repeated, whispering harshly, "and we don't love each other like that."
She yanked at her ponytail and her hair tumbled down her shoulders. Without even a glance towards me she got up, dusted off her shorts and looked at her watch.
"I'm going to go see if the guys are playing soccer."
"Please, enjoy yourself."
She walked away and the curious onlookers hastily hid between the aisles. Only then did I realize just how hard my heart was beating. It was almost painful and I wondered how I had managed to say anything to her with the lump that had lodged itself in my throat. I watched her walk away, wondering if I should run after her.
She turned around. I held my breath. A slow, sheepish smile crept on her lips. She wasn't even fifteen feet away, so I heard her perfectly when she said:
I mimicked her expression. "I know. Me too."
"I love you."
"I know. Me too. Now, go play football."
They were words we had exchanged almost daily for months. Words we would never tire of. She beamed and whipped around, strutting away. I rolled my eyes, not for the first wondering how I had ended up with a friend like her to begin with. I still wasn't sure if she was my salvation or my eternal damnation. I adjusted my specs and bent my neck to my dearest words.
'Loose lips might sink ships' was a slogan coined by the US Office of War Information ...
Unsubtle footfalls resonated on the marble floor. I didn't even bother looking up.
"Back so soon? I didn't even have time to read a full sentence."
She sat down on the armrest of my chair, the bare skin of her leg brushing against the back of my hand. She didn't say anything and the familiar frown descended over my eyes. I sighed and looked up at her.
"Désirée, for the love of..."
She leaned down and gently placed her lips over mine. She did not put her arms around me, nor did she caress my face with her hands. But for the gentle tickling of her hair against my cheeks, her lips were the only thing touching me. Soft, maybe a little timid and with a slight taste of Gatorade. My heart soared and I smiled against her.
She broke away only a few seconds later, her cheeks tainted with read and wearing the stupidest grin I had ever seen. My face must have looked just as ridiculous.
"I love you," she said.
"I know. Me too."
She got up and walked away. I bent my head again, only pretending to read. I licked my lips slowly, tasting her, missing her already.
She hadn't listened to a words I had said earlier, had she?
My heart thundered in my chest. The storm inside of me increased in volume as I heard running footsteps on the marble floor. She sat on the armrest. I dropped the book as she grabbed the collar of my shirt and kissed me again. Hungry, this time, impatient, wanting. We only parted to breathe.
"Weren't you going to play football?" I asked her between gasps.
"Shut up and kiss me again," she growled.
"Whatever floats your boat."
And I kissed her again. And again, and again, and again.
She never did go play football that day and I never finished that book.
She also never asked for my permission before asking a stupid question again. Which was fine by me.