Log:All Over You
It's been enough hours to miss dinner. Miss the evening nightcap and gossip with the siblings and cousins. They were the only ones who kept going straight through since the night before, all the same, and so rest was essential. It still skews the schedule, just so, so that when they start to wake, it's a few hours before dawn. This is the time Mona is typically still awake, rather than just rousing.
At first, she is aware of warm. Warm is normal. It's the bumpy and the hard that's different, and that's due to floor and a boot still wedged somewhere under one of her calves. She's dimly aware of breathing and purring, and the fact that she isn't in her bed. The first flutter of lashes gets her a view of the shadowy confines of the long closet hallway, and the glow of the bathroom at one end, the main room at the other. It's rapidly blotted out by Prance's face, and a lick to her nose. "Mrrph," she mumbles as her head shifts to bury the sound in Zane's chest.
It's then her eyes flash all the way open, as though the record scratch on reality in the soundtrack was audible as an alarm clock. She blinks. It wouldn't be the first time they woke up in a tangle somewhere in the house, but it's the first time it's under these circumstances. And here. That this is what happened in the closet, literally, is going to be incredibly funny to her in an hour or so. And then it's the same sound again: "Mrrph." But it's got an entirely different tone, this time, warm and amused and shockingly content for a girl waking up on the floor in a pile of rumpled clothes.
Sometimes Zane is rousing not that far past now. Generally, however, that's with the strong aid of an alarm clock and the intention of making it to early morning swim team practice, because you show up for that or you get kicked off the team, and at least getting plunged into an cold pool can be relied on to properly wake one up. More often he's also in the 'still awake' camp, if he's greeting this hour with his eyes open.
So far, he is not yet doing that today. Eyes firmly shut, as they should be this time of night. Warm is nice, and that doesn't really make any headway into waking him up. What does start to is the weight on him that's more than a blanket, and as his brain starts slowly letting the world in, is also not quite the right weight to be his dog. Or any of Mona's cats. And much less fluffy. In fact... in fact that is definitely not fluff he has his arms around. That IS fluff curled up against the side of his arm, yes. And much more of a catly weight. But the rest--
--is making 'mrrph' noises. His eyes flutter open then, glancing down at the head burying itself against his chest. Oh. Oh. He can feel his cheeks already pinkening, which is a little embarrassing in and of itself. And then there's that much more contented little sound, and that faint heat across his face goes up a degree or two. "...hey," he ventures, drowsily, voice still as half-asleep as he is.
It wouldn't be the first time they've woken up in a jumble of limbs, but that usually involves one of the sectional couches down in the movie room, along with several other people similarly sprawled here and there. No blushing from Mona without her morning coffee, apparently; there's just another contented-sounding 'mmph,' of noise, and a nudge of her nose to the line of his jaw. "Morning," she murmurs once she locates enough wits to string together to actually manage a word. Her eyes open halfway, and she tilts up her chin by a fraction. "Or. It might be?" She lifts her head just enough to glance toward the main room, or presumably the bank of windows running the full length of one wall. The sun isn't up just yet, even if the sky isn't midnight dark, either. The shades of blanketing the suite tell her enough about the hour. "Not yet." And her head sinks back down, her eyes briefly closing again as she draws in a deep breath, which doesn't smell like cat or pillow or leather sectional; it's his skin, his hair, the hint of the leather jacket behind them.
"...are we in my closet?" There are so very many reasons this question befuddles her, and even more that will amuse her later, no doubt. Now she's awake.
Then, she remembers, and the flush around her collarbones starts to bloom. Her voice is softer when she speaks again, and it's just a quiet, "Hi," as she tilts up her head to look at him, an uncommonly shy grin curving the very corners of her mouth. The hand still settled near his cheek stirs, instantly gaining Spook's attention enough to warrant a wary mew, before her fingertips spread to settle lightly there, like she's testing a soap bubble that might just pop as though it were never there at all.
"Um. Think so," Zane confirms as to their location, tipping his head back to take a better look around. Yep. That looks like her closet, all right. And he's pretty sure what he remembers in his sleep-deprived memories says 'closet', too. The sore parts of his back and shoulders agree.
He watches that upward tilt of her head, and reflects the smile back, shy and a touch sheepish as well. "Hi," he replies, and while there isn't another 'um', there's a silent space that feels like it wants to be one. "So, we..." He trails off as her fingers settle, the blush deciding it's just gonna hang out here a little while, who needs to look cool? Though, to be fair, there are probably few people less likely to be fooled by any attempt to do so he might be inclined to make, so maybe it's not such a loss.
Another lingering pause, as he studies her, arms staying right where they've ended up wrapped around her, and then, "...I kinda wanna kiss you again? But I'm pretty sure my breath is probably nasty right now." Very romantic. His teeth catch his bottom lip, gnawing it a little; his focus is still on her face, and as he wakes up further something more like worry sneaks into his own expression as well. "Is this... okay?"
Definitely the closet. She really can't help it: there's another of those tiny giggles, even if it's a little self-conscious. It gets the grin well on its way to full size. "Yeah," Mona confirms with a tiny nod, "we did." And if the look on her face is any indication, she's utterly delighted by this fact, as the smile shifts toward dreamy for a moment.
"I definitely want to kiss you again," she murmurs, and, being the pushy Marchant she is, she presses just such a kiss to the side of his neck. "And I don't care about your breath, but I care about mine, and-" And it's silly and she doesn't even care that it's silly, despite being entirely aware of it. "There are some new toothbrushes in the vanity cabinet drawer in the bathroom," she notes grudgingly, and a flick of her eyes in the direction of the dim illumination from that direction comes with a miniature groan, as if it's ten miles away rather than four feet, tops.
The question has that wise sage look crawling over her features: one part squint, hint of humor, dash of wistfulness, one drop of 'just sucked on a lemon'. "I would say," she decides after just a moment, as her eyes close and her expression eases into a warm smile so contented it might put Prance to shame, "every bit of this save for the boot digging into my leg right now is pretty awesome." It doesn't stop her brows from furrowing a moment later, and as she opens her eyes, saying, "We should still check out your hand," with a look of concern.
"And tonight, actual bed, because bootprints on the ass are... probably not the greatest look for wearing a bikini." There is a brief pause, and she only then thinks to ask, "I mean. You... still want to stay, yeah?"
Zane makes a little sound when she kisses the side of his neck, and it's probably fairly classified as a good noise, even (or maybe especially) though it does nothing to make his cheeks go any less pink than the pale rose they've settled on for now. And as much as getting up doesn't sound ideal... toothbrushes do sound pretty good.
He can't not grin a bit at that expression and the declaration of everything but boots being awesome, though he does murmur, "Not my boot, right?" They're still on his feet. He's fairly sure that isn't digging into her leg. But sleepy enough yet not to be positive. Awake enough for mentions of actual beds and asses and bikinis to send his train of thought down distracting tracks, though, if only for a moment or so as his head tips back as far as it can to look (upside down) at the bathroom there.
"Well-- I mean-- yeah," he replies, and his lips press together a moment before he looks to her again. "I gotta stop home and check on Arthur and walk Sondheim and make sure he's not lonely and all, but. I still wanna stay. You wanna come with?" This is the sort of thing he's asked untold times in the last few years, but not generally with quite the same hopefulness in the look. He hesitates, though, eyes still on her, then nearly blurts, "Mona? Are we-- does this mean we're going out now?" It kind of does, doesn't it? That's how it works, right?
If the suggestions are unhelpful in keeping thoughts on track, the tiny shift of her hip to double check where all her limbs are before she answers the question can't help, either, and the noise alone is enough to have a hard swallow traveling her throat. Then it doubles around to bite her right back with a subtle intensification of that flush that starts crawling up the length of her neck. "Not your boot," Mona confirms with a hard swallow. A craning of her head, and she glances down the length of her body. "Platforms. Naturally." Ow. That certainly will leave a mark!
"Probably should shower. Pretty sure this outfit could stand up on its own by now," she murmurs as she drops her head back to his shoulder with a tiny wrinkle of her nose. The next question is much easier. It's always the same answer: "'course." The grin eases back into place like it aims to stick around a while. "I haven't wrestled your fuzzy bear in at least a week."
The next question isn't as familiar, and the scrutiny he aims her way has her expression sobering. Unease isn't something she likes seeing on him; it's as if it doesn't fit properly there, much as vulnerability always looks a fraction off on her face when it appears. But there it is, too, as she looks up at him with eyes a smidgen too wide, lashes a bit clumped after sleeping in the minimal makeup she'd managed the previous morning in the gym locker room. "I hope so?" It's nearly a squeak, and even she seems horrified at herself over how damnably girly that is. The grin washes it away again, and her chin tucks in just a bit as she chuckles at her own expense. "I, uhm. Yeah? I hope we are. Because... " Reasons!
Nope. That little shift is also not at all helpful on that front. It makes it very difficult not to shift a little himself, which makes it much clearer to him where beneath the various velvet items other boots and similarly uncomfortable objects are hiding, and also that Zane is 'definitely' not a True Princess if he was able to fall asleep on that. He's probably broadly okay with that, at least.
"Well, it's leather, it might've been able to anyhow," he says, "but it's not like... I mean, showers are good and probably I need one too. But you still smell nice. If it helps any." The response about his fuzzy bear is pleasing, of course, but the other one he's waiting a bit more anxiously for, unease and all. And, no, outside of this, one or two other incidents, and the appearance of vampires in their lives, it's not something that shows up terribly often on him. He can't help that the squeak makes him smile and duck his head a touch, and he nods once as she adds her further answer. "Okay. 'cause I think I hope so too? Only." A small pause to collect a breath, and the look he gives her is both entreating and trepidatious at once. "What if I mess things up somehow? 'cause I don't want... I dunno how I could anything if you hated me." Like, say, Heather. The way he looks at her is not particularly difficult to read; it's a genuine concern, but he'd really really like the answer not to be that he's right to worry about that and maybe they should rethink this, please.
She should sit up. She really should. She knows she should. She knows she should start that process of getting up and moving and separating herself from all those warm, breathing distractions that feel so very nice. She's just not in any hurry to do it yet, and so she doesn't. There's another duck of her chin at the mention that she doesn't smell like she's absolutely sure she smells, which is some shade of 'girl's locker room'.
"Zane... " she begins, and while it sounds like the opening to one of her usual statements, there's something about the way her chest shivers with a silent chuckle that suggests it isn't any sort of lecture. "...pretty sure it's impossible to hate you. Like, for anybody not totally broken in the head, anyway?" Mona shifts a bit further atop him so she can peer down properly, chin perching just low enough on his chest that she can meet his eyes from there. "I'm not that kind of broken in the head, and... " This is the part that's harder, even if somehow it just isn't. "...I had to think about it?" Her brows loft just a fraction. "I mean, at the party I figured a couple things out, I think? Or started to? And the idea that anything would ever change with... " She stops herself there, pausing to look for the right words.
"The idea of ever losing any of what we had was like... it felt just-" It's somehow easy to say now that she's starting to actually say it, even if she's not saying it very well. "-it felt like, if that happened, the whole world would just break apart. And it bothered me so much, because I'm pretty sure I've loved you like crazy since we were like... five? And all playing dress-up around the pool with everybody, and you dressed up like a prince and asked what we were playing, and it was that you were the rescuer, and there was a knight, and an innocent princess, and I was the evil queen?" Now, she's blushing. Is she ever. "And you just ran over to me and grabbed my hand and said, 'Let's go! I'll save you!' and everybody just said, 'Stop! That isn't how it works! You don't save the evil queen!'" Teeth catch at her lower lip, and she buries her face in his shirt for a moment before peeking up once again.
"And you just put your hands on your hip and held up that plastic glow sword we eventually fried in the pool and said, 'But she need saving most of all! Then everybody's saved!' and I think... " Oh, she knows she'll never live a word of this down if anyone else ever hears it, and yet, she insists, "...it was maybe the most smart, amazing thing I've ever heard anybody say."
Nope, never living that one down, and so she blows the tumbled locks of hair from her prairie dog hiding routine, and looks at him calmly, breathing a sigh. "So unless you can also travel back in time I'm pretty sure you couldn't possibly mess things up, ever."
Zane is in no hurry to sit up himself or to encourage her to do so, and when she instead shifts further atop him? ...yeah okay he can go with that, too. His arms follow along so that they stay wrapped loosely around her, and it might be just a little bit clearer to him again there's still really nothing covering her back, now. One of his hands does find itself brushing upward along that bare skin. It's distracting, though it'd be more distracting if this weren't a question he's quite so invested in. She can feel the tension in her when she starts answering, and the slow ebb as she gets to the bits about when they were so little.
"I don't usually say a lot of smart and amazing things," he says, making a little bit of a face, "...well, except on stage, I guess, but those aren't my things. I just say 'em pretty good. But I'm glad. About that one. It kinda does still make sense to me." He tilts his head down to kiss her -- on the forehead, where it doesn't matter so much if he probably really does need to brush his teeth -- and then admits, "I didn't really figure any things out. At the party, I mean, or after. I tried, but it was just... confusing." That slightly shy smile again, "It's not so confusing anymore, I think? Just." Just the idea of not being friends is terrifying enough for the idea they might be risking that to eat at him. But he trusts Mona, after all. If she says that isn't going to happen...
Well, it probably also doesn't hurt that it's the answer he really wants, frankly.
"Okay," he says, after giving it another moment or two of thought, and a decisive nod. "Okay. Then it's... then we are." And he breaks into a particularly sunny smile, hands pausing to give her a tight squeeze.
The hands roving over her back threaten to activate Mona's inner feline, and do just enough to have her back arching mildly beneath them. "You say more smart and amazing things than you think you do," she insists with a pointed look in her eyes. "I know sometimes it feels like always acing tests is what smart is made of, but... " Her head shakes incrementally as she continues to hold his gaze. "Honestly? It isn't. I mean, yeah, sometimes we're going to have to solve for X or know the capital of Spain -- hopefully never how to dissect a frog again, because gross -- but that's never struck me as the kind of smart that really matters, not really, and the kind that really matters comes from someplace entirely different than a textbook or a lecture."
"And you have that. You've always had it. More than any of us have it, I think. You've got so much of it you shine all the time and-" Her shoulders shift in a faint shrug before she offers another oddly self-conscious smile. "I didn't really figure it out, either. But then, I had been thinking about it?"
"And then... the other night at the Reed house, and... " She's still trying to not think about most of that, even if it's hard to not let it haunt the back of her mind. "It didn't make sense until we got back here, and suddenly it was like all that stuff that seemed like nonsense... wasn't?" There's no good explanation for proving all those silly novels true that she can put into words in any eloquent fashion, and clearly she'll be damned if she sounds like a bad diary poem, of which she doubtless has several.
"For like, a second I wondered... why does this make that much sense?" The grin gets full again, and still, she ducks her head, though there's a slow upward shift so she can bump the tip of her nose to his. "And I couldn't figure out when it started because... it's been there so long. Like looking for when it started making sense didn't make sense because it never hadn't made sense?"
"We'd just been having too much fun to notice."
"Madrid," Zane murmurs half under his breath, because solving for X and explaining how and why one might dissect a frog and extrapolating things from what they find there are likely to leave him adrift and looking to a tutor or lab partner, but a pure rote memorized word of a fact? Those he often retains okay. As if they were extremely short and boring lines from the least exciting play ever written.
He looks only a little bit dubious at her insistence that he has the important kind of smart, though it's only the 'more than any of us' part that actually makes him breathe a laugh, head ducking, and say nearly as quietly, "You might kinda be a little biased there." Even so... if she says a thing, maybe there's something in it? The mention of the Reed house does subdue him a little, things creeping back into his thoughts, but right now it can't outfight that nosebump, which just makes him grin brilliantly again, the nearly-subsided pinkness across his cheeks rallying slightly.
A tiny tilt of his head, when all that 'sense' comes in, like the sentence isn't necessarily making that much to him; that's the expression, certainly, and it's not like it's never been seen before. The last addition, though, is clear enough even without the rest, and then seems to help sort it all out. "Could be," he agrees, "'cause I mean... we have a lot of fun. I hadn't really thought about trying to figure out when it started making sense, yet." He was too busy kissing at the time, frankly. And now he doesn't have to work it out because she already did! ...right?
The mention of the Reed house with some of the rest of the conversation comes together in his head, though, and he frowns a little. "...do you think maybe we should be trying to save Fran?"
"Don't give me that look, it's true," she insists with a suddenly playful smile. "I mean, it's not like life is a physics test. It's a lot more... " The hand not still lingering in the general vicinity of his cheek ducks between them, and settles over his chest, even if the only visible bits really between them are the tips of her fingers. "From here. You see the good parts of people even when you're mad at them, even when you're upset, even when they don't see them any more themselves, and that's... " Leaning in just a fraction closer, morning breath be damned, she aims to steal a tiny peck of a kiss.
"But, I mean... yeah? How many people do you know that end up together just because they're, like... bored? Like they ran out of other things to do, and decided to drink or get high or start fooling around and then suddenly they're a thing, and they don't really have much else going on but that?" She can't entirely help it; there's a giggle over that thought. "I mean, if it weren't for the vampires, we may have kept on for years being too entertained to ever actually figure it out and been just fine, you know?"
Then, there's a tiny snerk of laughter, and her cheeks start going pink. "...you realize all the bored people figured this out before we did." And that's funny. That will always be funny, even if it means she's now blushing to the roots of her hair. "Because they were bored enough to wonder before we were?"
"I just... " The words aren't easy, but they're honest. "I just know that every time I've seen you since forever, it's the best part of my day. S'all it takes." Which means she absolutely should have known forever ago, too, and some part of her must be kicking herself -- or will get around to it once she stops grinning. But then, there's the mention of the Reed house, and the question doesn't, perhaps, catch her as far off guard as it otherwise might, and the humor dims by a fraction.
"I... actually considered that for a minute," she says after a small sigh. "Don't know enough about her to know if that's... something we could even do? But it sounds like it might make a difference, if we did. If she's the one doing all of this." And it's not a bad idea at all, to her reckoning. "It's definitely something we should think about. Maybe talk to Mister Chen about?" Though the hand at his side ducks down to nudge a finger toward his ribs, tickle-fashion. "After a shower. I smell like horses, and I don't even think we have horses any more. Also, I really want a clove right now. And coffee. And if the sun was up I think I would already be jumping off the balcony into the hot tub-" she insists, making a zoom noise as she says, "Lighter and cigarette case, little flask, whoosh! Bombs away! Get it all done in record time." She's only mostly kidding; she's done it before.
He really does suspect he needs to brush his teeth. But he's not going to fight that stolen kiss in any case. The first remarks have him a little thoughtful again, almost reluctantly, and he gives a small, embarrassed laugh at the idea that maybe everyone else knew about this before they did. "Maybe," he agrees, "...I think Spear maybe kinda thought..." But he's just gonna leave it there. He doesn't reply aloud to the bit about being the best part of her day, but the boyish smile and the smitten look handle it pretty well on their own.
"How do you not know if you still have horses?" Once in a while something makes even Zane blink about the Marchant experience. They're just really few and far between... and much more in passing than for most people who didn't grow up around the triplets so much. "Yeah, though. That's a good idea, talking to Mr. Chen. Also, um, showering." He wriggles just a little bit at the tickle-nudge, as she has to have known he would, after all this time. "You can go first." Which is what he'd always say, not that it's ever really been necessary to here. Her house, after all! And not that he seems in any hurry to let her get up, though if she tries, he'll probably let go. Probably.
He studies her a breath, brow furrowing slightly again. "Though. That thing you said about-- the good parts of people? It kinda reminds me. Can we maybe just kinda... forgive Heather? 'cause she shouldn't've done that and all but-- but I dunno. Like, she asked if I was happy now and, well, no, I didn't ever want for her to be unhappy in the first place, so..." He glances down, coincidentally to where his hand is still making those little trails. "It means a lot to me that you guys have my back. And if you guys gotta make things hard for her 'cause she was being a jerk to you guys then that's one thing, but... not for me, please? Not now."
"You know, I bet he did. He's really perceptive, you know?" Mona agrees easily, even if there is a fresh surge to her blush at the recollection of Spear's expression when finding them in the pool. "I'm really happy for him and Jade. They seem to be really... healthy for each other, in a way that is just so amazing. 'cause Spear's always been just the sweetest, and Jade, too, even if not many people really see that part of him a lot. It's like... they encourage the best parts of each other, and I really love that, you know?" It is entirely possible for Mona to be cheerfully sappy about everyone's happiness at once, it would seem, not that she'll ever let on in public, at a guess.
"Well, we haven't gone riding in a while? I mean. We probably still do. I think they might still give classes up there... if they do, I hope they are giving them a good run? It was always cool to see the littler kids braiding Oscar's mane." Oscar, for Oscar de la Renta, naturally. "Maybe we should go, some afternoon. I can ask Father?" They... probably still have horses. Probably! She's no hurry to go there, or anywhere else, just yet.
Head canting a bit, she listens, though there's a hint of subtle amusement rising over her face even if there's a new volley of warmth to come along with it. "Well. I can't speak for Lucas, though I can speak to him about it. He's pretty testy about people breaking deals with him, and I can't say I blame him." Leaning in, she rests her head on his shoulder, tucking her face into the crook of his neck. "Some of it was for me, some for you. But. I'll tell you a secret?"
"That was it, actually. I'm not actually going to do anything. Never was." There's a tiny shift of her shoulders that might be a shrug if she wasn't a little too intent on playing with his hair with the hand near his face, before her thumb brushes over a cheekbone. "I mean, I guess it's kinda mean, but her just thinking we're off doing something is enough to keep her from disrespecting the house, or another of Jade's parties, or probably you, either, again." Her brow furrows a touch, and she says, "You know, you never told me what happened." It's an opening rather than an inquiry, and she's oddly hesitant about it. "I can't imagine you doing anything to make someone that angry."
ROLL: Zane rolls spirit-1 for: : x1 : x2 (Pair) -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 2 1 2 -- d6)
"They seem really happy," Zane agrees, which is all he needs to be happy about it as well, to tell the truth. He might well let on in public, too, why not? "And I'd totally be up for going riding again sometime. It really has been kinda a while, huh?" Huh. But yes: some time that isn't now. A 'later' of some description.
He gives a tiny nod to her first reply to his request, though the settling in of her head is the kind of distraction that gets a goofy little smile out of him, and his eyes close while she's toying with the hair, to the extent that he's briefly surprised when the thumb finds his cheekbone. His eyes half-open to peek at her, until she gets to the not-quite-question, and she can feel the skin beneath that thumb heat up. "...um," he says quietly, and hesitates a good long while, enough to seem as though he may well not answer while he wrestles with... whatever might be going on in his head.
"You gotta promise not to tell anyone," he says eventually, quiet but dead serious, and he catches his bottom lip with his teeth again for a moment before he starts trying to explain. "There was that party. After the Hallowe'en dance?" Well, yes, she probably recalls the timeframe on this. "And, um. Do you remember someone spiked that punch really bad?" Or really well, depending how one looks at it. They did a good job of making it surprisingly powerful while still basically tasting like, well, punch.
"Anyway, so. We didn't know and she had a few cups. And got kinda wasted. And, um." More pink and heat across his cheeks. Ear, too, for that matter. "She wanted us to go sleep together. Only, I mean, it's not like-- I mean, it was 'cause she was drunk, you know? And anyway you know how I..." You know how I want that to be. It's not teenage-boy-cool but he's never had to be with her, after all. She knows these things. "So... I said no, and I took her home and everything. Only. I think I really hurt her feelings? Or embarrassed her, or... I dunno. I don't think I did the wrong thing but I think I did it wrong."
There is a reason they aren't, say, completely naked and just surrounded in clothes, and she is aware of it to be certain. The blush still catches her a fraction off guard, and Mona tilts her head just so to look up at him. No hesitation on her part; the best-friend still there in the girl insists, "Promise," with surety.
"Yeah, I remember that party. I forget who actually managed that one, but it was... that was the one where I passed out on the deck chair in that giant poof dress, 'cause I didn't realize, either, and woke up in the morning with Cassidy all looming and insisting he was fending off predators while he was eyeballing my feet... weirdly." No wonder she was a little distracted.
All the same, she listens, while letting the hand at his chest snake around his side to tug him close for a gentle squeeze. Still here, still the very same Mona. "Well. I'm totally sober and even I had a moment there when I thought... you know, everybody's probably asleep right now, we maybe don't need to... take turns in the shower, but, you know." The hug renews itself for a gentle squeeze. "I want to, you know. Not... just race along about anything, ever, either."
"Which I guess I should, you know, say?" She lifts her head just enough to catch his eyes from the corner of her own. "That if there's anything you don't want to do? Or want to wait about or... you know. Or even something you do? Just tell me? Because I never... I know you'd never... " She's not stammering, but the words are hard to piece together on this particular point, but it doesn't diminish their sincerity. "Whatever we do or don't do, I want it to be because we both want to. Not because we just think the other person wants to or we're supposed to or something." There!
Hugs will always be a good thing, and the one to follow lasts a lot longer. "Girls get... weird about that sort of thing, because society is pretty stupid. Like, everybody tells us that from the time we sprout tits-" No wonder she heard this late enough in life to process it properly. "-that boys only want one thing, and so, like... if for some reason they don't all of a sudden, it's like somebody dropped our brain in a blender and it's all 'whaaaaaaaat?', and we think we did something wrong, which... " The sigh is long, and lingering. "Which is usually it, anyway, 'cause, like, girls can be total horndogs, too, and, uhm." She clears her through delicately. "Spear was also right that you're really, really hot."
"You didn't do anything wrong, Zane," she insists. "People are just kinda fucked up, is all."
At least one reason, yes. Zane nods to her remembering it, and looks chagrined when she mentions the Cassidy thing. "I should've come back after," he mutters, because that dude is... look, she shouldn't be being 'protected' by guys he feels like he ought to be protecting her from, that's all. Surely that's his job. Even before... this.
Her remark about being totally sober and the related shower thought has him blushing again, and his head tilts back again, poor lip caught by teeth again as he glances off toward nothing in a direction that's really best described simply as 'away'. Eyes only; his head stays where it is. And his arms, too, with the fingers of one hand teasing just barely under the outer edge of the halter-top on her back. Which is slightly more daring than what they were up to before, albeit still pretty innocent in the overall scheme of things. "...well. It's. I'm not gonna pretend that didn't cross my mind also," he admits. "It's not like I don't wanna do stuff, it's just... you know. I want it to matter." Though she surely knows there's some things that've been deemed to require less, uh, long-term mattering than others, even if, based on the fact that he has not actually spontaneously combusted in the last couple years, precisely what probably hasn't been specified. Things involving Morgan, for example. So there's presumably some room to work with... even without the potential that this may, in fact... matter.
Somehow he can keep from blushing when he's being someone else. It's just when he's being himself that he can't seem to fight it off. So he's probably going to stay pink for the next few minutes at the very least, now. "Yeah, though, we should... I want it to be 'cause we both want to also. Whatever we do. Or don't. And-- when." Hugs are good, yes, and comfortable, even right now. He tilts his head to briefly nuzzle at her hair along with it, and it relaxes him a bit, even as he makes another little shift underneath her. Possibly the velvet and random shoes are getting uncomfortable. Her explanation gets a small, slow nod; it makes some sense, though that stops short with bit after the throat clearing. "...when did Spear say that?" he asks, and more importantly, "You think I'm hot?" One'd think that whole kissing thing and considering the shower option and such could be considered a hint. And yet.
"Yeah," Mona agrees with a comfortable nod against his shoulder, even if she's a spectacularly fashionable shade of magenta herself at the moment. "Whatever happens, I... want it to feel right, and I think?" Her eyes shift up toward his face, it now her turn to catch at her lower lip with her teeth. "We'll have a good idea of what, where, when, and... all of that." Or they'll get so distracted having fun again, or by impending doom; it's hard to tell, but she's reasonably certain that sort of distraction isn't going to completely blot everything out ever again.
The way his fingers rove over her back has the faintest trail of goosebumps starting up, and she squirms like a contented cat in spite of herself, letting a little mumble of warm, affectionate noise escape. No wonder Prance likes that! Prance, who is snoring merrily on a mound of skirts. "Was in the pool. He had to tell us we were hot because we didn't notice." Which is adorable, and funny. And was funny to her that someone had to come out and actually say it out loud before she even realized she might be 'pretty'. "When he was talking about how it was easy for us to swim in our underwear, because we were hot."
"Which suddenly made swimming in our underwear seem totally different than it had before that!" she protests with a tiny laugh. "Not that I aim to stop, because as every member of my family knows, tradition matters." That is not what that means! And yet. "But I guess that's why maybe he thought something different than... well."
The giggles are threatening to return, but she salvages the moment, after a fashion. It's not a brilliant idea. It's not. She's utterly convinced it is, but it's not. "OK, then. You have your suit, right?" Oh, no. "I can grab one." This is going to end in tears, more laughter, or a potential trip to the emergency room. If she was older, or had more experience, she would know this. "And we can, without... " Shifting slightly, she props herself up to glance down at him. "...zoom?"
And it sounds like it's a question but she already seems to be in motion, starting on her way up, presumably to grab a bathing suit, even if she does have to pause to try to steal another quick kiss because, dammit, she's not entirely sure that when she stands up, she's going to turn around and find this has all been a very vivid dream born of strange times and sleep deprivation.
"Ooh, right, he said Hector'd say we were hotties," Zane recalls, pulling this up. Doesn't help the blush lighten any, though that possibly owes something to, "...he wasn't wrong, you looked-- really, really hot in that. I kinda... yeah." Didn't know what to do with that. It is not now stopping him from continuing with the little tracing that's making her squirm like that, however. He kind of wants more of that. And the little mumblenoise.
He nods; he does have his suit. He's wearing his suit. Second-day jeans are one thing, but second-day underwear is another, and since there wasn't practice this morning, the suit wasn't wet. "...zoom?" he asks, lost on that part, but he hasn't started down any mental paths as to why this might not be entirely the brightest thought they've ever had. Fingers crossed they get the laughter outcome? He may or may not be getting an answer, because she IS getting that kiss, need for toothbrushing temporarily forgotten, alas. And if she's trying to extract herself and stand, well, he's not going to try to make her stay.
Zoom. There is a part of her that's already in full zoom, heartbeat thundering in her ears, cheeks blooming a warm pink. "I never really thought about it, I mean... I just pick out stuff I think is pretty, since I don't figure it's likely anyone would ever see any of... " Oh, her mind did not need to go there. Thankfully, there's a kiss to distract her and she might even forget to consider whether the underwear is more than just pretty or not when she gets dressed in a little while. It doesn't even matter that they really should brush their teeth; it's even further from her mind.
There's more of that noise, increasing in volume, and were it not for momentum, she would surely stay right where she is if not tumble right back down on top of him. (There could be worse fates.) She draws back by a fraction, finally, because if she doesn't, she won't. "Get the water running while I get changed?" she asks, still breathless, scarcely far enough away to not fall right back into the kiss, lips brushing his as she speaks.
So reluctantly, she pushes herself up with an audible creak of leather. "Oh, these clothes are gonna hate me... " she mumbles with a light laugh, but she's off and around the corner quickly, with the sound of a slamming drawer right behind.
Zoom? Zane remains a little confused about this, but there's thoughts about lacy underthings and more importantly there's kissing and those are extremely distracting. Even before there's more of that sound, which a similar quiet one in answer, and it's a little more difficult now to let her go like he'd intended to. He manages, though, with a breathless and frankly thoughtless nod to her request.
He does not immediately get up to fulfil it, lying right where he is instead and watching her get up and head around the corner. Then he blinks at the ceiling for a second or two, still distracted, until his hand drops down to make an absent adjustment and ends up also making a mental connection or two. Oh. Uh...
He steals a glance in the direction Mona disappeared, then finally does push up to his feet, a little sore. A stretch, and he heads into the bathroom, glancing around. There's a little bit of general rustling, the sound of the water coming on, and far sooner than there really ought to be, the slight change in sound quality that suggests an unimpeded shower stream becoming impeded, followed virtually immediately by a brief, strangled yelp.
Rustle. Slam. Rustle rustle. Fling. Snap. Ping. Rustle. Slam. Snap! The noises from behind the dressing screen in her room -- typically used for costume fittings and formalwear -- are downright comical in their own right, though there's a quiet hiss and a "Dammit!" in an insistent whisper before the sound of bare feet can be heard padding back in the direction of the bathroom, the quieter blurble of coffee percolating mutedly behind her.
She already has a clove lit as she strolls back through the hall, with an inquisitive, drowsy mew from Prance giving her just enough pause to catch that yelp. If she didn't completely adore him before that noise, she would right then and there. Grinning from ear to ear, Mona raps very lightly on the frame of the door to announce herself, just in case, before she strolls toward the sink, and starts rustling through another drawer in search of the spare guest toothbrushes, still in their packaging.
Sometimes, the classics work the best. The bikini is black, simple, and precisely that: classic. All triangles, not especially showy, nicely fitted, and not quite so scandalous or transparent as her underwear had been. It's the bruise from diving after Arthur the night before that makes for the 'accessory' she was cursing, already a few shades of purple and blue running down her side from shoulder to thigh, with, indeed, the notable outline of one platform heel shoe like a tattoo just above the back of the same knee.
"Clove?" she asks, glancing toward the shower, teeth pinning her lower lip, breath caught. It's not like she hasn't seen him swim a hundred times in just the past year alone, but still, the context is entirely different. It shouldn't surprise her just how much context matters, but how much context matters is doubtless all the more obvious to both of them considering just how much things poke through spandex than leather.
Cold showers are cold, and what's worse, they don't actually work. Not the way pop culture likes to imply, anyway. Especially if one leaps right back out of the water and ends up standing at the far end of the massive shower stall to shiver a little, clad in his black swim-team suit with the school-colour stripes and several trails of far too chilly water still winding slowly down his skin. "It's, um. Not warm yet." Whether it's the temperature or the pure silliness of the situation, it has at least done something to counter Zane's blush, so there's that. There's also the fact that 'wet' is a pretty decent look for him. Maybe less so shivering, but the water is warming up.
"I think it'd get destroyed," he says, while at the same time gingerly approaching the door to wipe a hand on a towel and try to steal her clove for at least a drag anyway. And maybe to take a better look at her and the bikini, 'cause... really, he might as well. As long as she's not going to start hitting him for it. And there is something a tiny bit tentative about it at first, like he really isn't sure about the lack of subtlety.
It dissolves fairly quickly, though, when he's looking at the bruising. There's more of it than he would have expected, and worse, and without really thinking it through he reaches out to touch some of it along her side. "Are you okay?" he asks, ignoring that the palm of the hand making that contact looks just as bad. It's just one hand, after all.
Wet definitely is a good look for him. Have they really exhausted their options on creating that swimsuit calendar for fund-raising in the theater department? Have they really? "It takes a minute, I-" Should have warned him, and there's a hint of a sheepish smile as she heads toward the frosted glass door. Subtly frosted glass: saving people from themselves since the dawn of glassmaking. "...probably should have mentioned that. Takes it a little bit if it's been more than a few hours, pipes must go on for miles under there." Likely accurate.
Mona is far too focused on him when he peeks out from behind the door to reach for the clove, enough so that she's nearly forgotten about the war paint up her side. It means she startles a moment, glancing down, as she mumbles, "Oh, it's just... I bruise really easily, anemia and all. All three of us. Like, there's a reason the vanity table has tons of concealer, for real." But it does mean she's looking down, and she spies the hand, her brow furrowing to diminish the impact of the reassuring smile she was starting to muster up. "You need to let me wrap that up for you," she insists, "once we clean off."
And, clove or no, she carefully reaches for his hand, raising it gently upward, to dust a kiss very, very gingerly over a less-gnawed-upon portion of his knuckles. Still, she turns just slightly to give him a proper view of the bruises. They're vivid, but don't seem to hurt terribly from the way she's moving.
ROLL: Zane rolls Spirit+1 for: : x1 : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 1 (Raw: 5 3 3 1 4 -- d6)
Zane gives a little nod-shrug to the remark that she should've warned him, then nonetheless entirely convincingly replies, "Well, I've used the shower enough, I oughta know how long it takes by now without any help." Please ignore how short the time between water going on and yelp was, he definitely did not step in when it was certain to be freezing 100% intentionally, that would be silly. Let's just blame it on the fact that he never uses the shower first, that's much more reasonable. Yup. That's the ticket.
He knows about the anaemia, of course, but even so... that's a lot of bruising, definitely more than he's seen on her for a good while, and it's so fresh. It keeps his forehead furrowed as he looks it over, though the claiming of his hand does draw his attention there, watching as she lifts it like that for the kiss. "It's not that bad," he murmurs, though it's not exactly a no. The way she moves with her own bruises does help a bit, largely with the implication that they don't hurt like they look like they should, and partly just because looking her over for the injuries involves just looking her over, and that's--
The hand she's taken twists enough to take hold of hers in turn, and he steps back, trying to draw her in to join him. Thankfully, the water spattering this far has reached bearably warm at this point, if still not pleasantly steamy yet.
ROLL: Mona rolls spirit + 1 for: : x3 (Set) : x1 : x1 -- Match Value: 3 (Raw: 1 1 1 2 6 -- d6)
There's something about the simple nearness of him that has the color returning to her cheeks, and she's about to protest at the insistence that his hand isn't that bad off. It's then it hits her that the last time she mentioned the hand, there was...
...exactly. Very carefully, she twines her fingers with his, trailing smoke as she still has a hold of the clove. It will last roughly twenty seconds, and odds are high she won't even remember she's holding it for a solid minute at least. The shower itself smells lovely: a mix of sandalwood, lemongrass, something sweetly citrus, and the cleaner, crisper scent of a more straightforward soap. The scent is warm, even before the water is, and it makes the steam that starts up as the hot water kicks in in earnest all the more pleasant. The scents are all ones blending nicely with that of skin, the kind that linger through the day and shift with the passing of the hours from one note to the next.
The smoke from the clove whirls upward into the steam like differently-colored fog before it starts to spatter, and hiss. It almost covers the sound of her slowly drawing in a breath as she catches the door behind her to gently tug closed behind her. The cigarette tumbles from her fingers without her ever noting it at all. In the dim light, she likely won't even see it until it's long gone to the drain. The space is closed, dim, warm. Dream-like. Something about it is utterly fitting, like a little pocket outside of time and space where anything at all might be possible. And so, for a moment, she simply stands there looking at him as though this strange little trip through the closet into Narnia had managed to transform them completely, while somehow, every tiny detail is strikingly familiar. The juxtaposition leaves her briefly awestruck, and there's something of it in the way her smile slowly starts to rise just barely.
And, she had promised. She had. She promised, and she hadn't forgotten. Not for a moment. Her fingertips weave through his, ever so gently as she steps in closer, steeling her nerves for some reason beyond the obvious.
She starts to sing.
ROLL: Zane rolls spirit+2 for: : x2 (Pair) : x1 : x2 (Pair) : x1 -- Match Value: 2 (Raw: 4 4 3 5 2 2 -- d6)
It's a ridiculously pleasant-smelling shower, especially if one's more used to showers that smell like nothing but normal soap... or like chlorine and locker-room. Truth is, though, it's not registering anything but subliminally for Zane at the moment, no more than the issue of the lit cigarette in the water, and the fact that he never did actually steal it for that smoke. No more than the warmth of the growing steam, or the way it rises in the shower's part-light. The bits that have priority are the bits that are Mona, and the way she's looking at him while he's looking back at her. As showers go, it's a large one, but as rooms go, it's still small, this space that's theirs right now, and he takes a step nearer while he's pulling her in, closing the distance further, but not completely. Silent a moment while that hint of her smile rises, fingers twining, and a tiny crooked smile's just started to answer hers when-- when she starts to sing.
Unexpected Song is the right title for it. And the reasons people so often choose the shower for the time and place they break into song are doing everything they can for what's already the sweetest he's ever heard her voice, biased or not. And he's definitely biased, right now. He just stares at her for the first few lines, that 'awestruck' passed right on over to him, and by all appearances a good dose of 'smitten', too. He's left with a very difficult dilemma: he suddenly desperately wants to kiss her again, but it's nigh impossible to kiss and sing at the same time.
It's about the time she's halfway through the first chorus that he's more or less solved this conundrum, lifting their joint hands to kiss hers. Perhaps by then some of their past talk has made its way back to his mind as well, her remark about a shower duet in bathing suits -- but whether that's an impetus or not, he joins in quietly on the last two lines of that chorus, finding a harmony: "...an unexpected song, that only we are hearing..."
If they lived in a proper musical, there'd be an orchestra. But a cappella and shower-resonant... is more than close enough.
And as she had always said, she is the quiet one. Her voice is sweet, but soft. Not meant to project beyond a space as small as the enclosure of tile and glass, where it might echo along with the steady patter of the water raining down from above. The wee hours of morning are made for precisely this sort of magic. She's always said as much, and now she's sure of it.
Were she her usual smartass self, she would have picked something from Singin' in the Rain, but for once, and maybe just the once, that isn't where her mind is at all. Instead, it's this. Had she ever admitted how much she always wanted to sing with him? Never. It might have been the one secret she kept, until now. Now, she never would need to speak it aloud; from the look on her face, it's all too clear.
And as the lyrics repeat, gaining strength and emotion if not volume, she does precisely that: sings with him, letting the words simply flow out and dance on wisps of steam and the way her eyes become utterly lost in his. The urge to kiss him is strong, but one she's able to quell just enough to only draw closer, closer still, as the song winds nearer its end, her free hand rising to his shoulder as if, despite the lack of orchestra, she very well might begin the most awkward waltz in Lake Havasu's brief history.
It's only as the last line emerges with all conviction that she's near enough, that her lips are nearly close enough to brush against his. They wear a smile even better than she wears a proper bikini.
Unbeknownst to them, they do have an audience. All three of the cats can be glimpsed in silhouette through the frosted glass, perched in a line from Spook to Diva to Prince Prance, like a line of nesting dolls in increasing size. She doesn't see them, though.
Zane can project to the nosebleeds when he's supposed to, but this is... different. In many ways. He keeps the volume on par with hers, maybe just a little bit quieter, here, and does his best to make a harmony that supports her melody, that intertwines in a way that feels right. Improvised, it might not be the very best one that could be written, but it works well, and the more so for the emotion that flows through it. One of them is definitely joy, it practically radiates off him as the duet goes on.
The impression of imminent awkward waltz is only increased by the fact that once she's close enough to settle her hand on his shoulder, another step closer has his free arm wrapping around her waist. Too low for a proper waltz, but it doesn't exactly hurt the look of it, and definitely doesn't hurt that closing in. He can't help smiling by those last notes either, and there's a pause of just a beat after the final note before he does kiss her again, the sound gradually dying away against the tiles to fade into the patter of the water itself.
Can't care about the potential for morning breath, right now. Hasn't even noticed the audience, yet. Maybe if they started to applaud. But given paws, this seems unlikely, and there's little short of that that's going to bring his focus out of the shower for now. Having just sung, the kiss is a little shorter than it otherwise might be, the need for another breath coming earlier; he gives her a brilliant smile in that moment and turns her as if it really were a dance hold, adding a step to push her back lightly up against the wall before he kisses her again.
So brave, the people in the rain room. So very brave. The silent trio of fluffy felines regards them solemnly. They may never come out of there again!