Ardette and Reginald do exactly that. Ew. (COMPLETE)
At the Conservatory.
<Ardette>: Kryru and I are trying to figure out a way for Lucy and Ardette to RP
<Ardette>: Because I think that'd be reaaally interesting XD
<Reginald>: oh yeah?
<Reginald>: oh god
<Ardette>: Your two favorite blonde hardasses.
Reginald "That's a terrifying thought."
Ardette just bats her eyelashes at him sardonically
Reginald "Please don't talk about me."
Ardette "All I can promise is that I won't be the one to mention you."
Reginald "That doesn't make me feel any better about it."
Ardette "I shall make absolute certain to edit every conversation I have with anyone, ever, to ensure that you feel better by the end of it."
Reginald scoffs, "Oh, Miss Bombaerts, if I wasn't such a gentleman, I'd tell you to 'vete pa'l carajo'."
<Reginald>: which is Puerto Rican slang for go to hell.
Ardette snerks, because she doesn't have to know what that means to get the gist of it. "It's a good thing you're a gentleman, then."
"Of course I am." There's a mirthfulness in Reginald's tone, suggesting that if she laughed in his face over this, he wouldn't be offended.
Ardette squints at him, takes in his cheeky expression, and snorts, turning her cheek to hide a disbelieving grin.
Reginald "Ah, that was almost a laugh."
Ardette points at him with a toothy smirk. "And that was almost believable."
"One of these days I'll get you to actually laugh," Reginald says, smirking right back at her.
Ardette puts her hands on her hips and shakes her head. "And why is this on your list of goals, exactly?"
"Because it would amuse me." And it would be something if someone like Reginald could make someone like Ardette laugh.
Ardette scoffs and flings a dismissive hand at him. "'Because it would amuse him,' he says. What am I, a circus animal? Go to hell."
Reginald chuckles, "If I gave you a real answer, you'd probably slap me, so I figured this was the lesser of two evils."
Ardette crosses her arms. "You're going to tell me, though."
Reginald "Oh? And why should I do that?"
Ardette "Because you're a talker. Soon, you'll be just bursting to tell me, just to get a reaction."
"Mn, I care too much to not get my face slapped. I'm already an ugly bugger, I don't need to make it worse." Perhaps Reginald was starting to get a little too cheeky, but it was fun.
Ardette rolls her eyes hugely. "You're ridiculous."
Reginald "You're dying to know what I have to say, too. You know it's a compliment."
Ardette "Speaking of which, you owe me a compliment."
"Ohhh, do I now?" She totally was dying to know what Reginald had to say.
"You do. The fact that I hit below the belt isn't a compliment; it's a statement of fact." And Ardette totally was not. She was just... curious. I mean, It was going to come out eventually, and who had time to wait these days?
"Fine then. I'm trying to get you to laugh, because I think that you would probably have a very beautiful laugh..." Reginald sighs, "...but I can wait."
Ardette blinks a few times and just stares at him, feeling her cheeks go a bit warm. ...she can't say she's ever heard that before. She scoffs it off with a shrug and looks away. "Tch, is that how you get the ladies to slap you? Pathetic." It was. Because... well, she doesn't want to slap him at all.
"I think it's not so much how I say it, so much as just I'm the one saying it, but considering you don't seem overly upset, then I'll take it as a good sign." Reginald knows he's probably embarrassed her. No, not probably, but the sentiment was sincere.
"Well--" Ardette hastens to say, hastens to assure him that, no, no, don't take that as too good a sign, but it's purely reflex. She doesn't know what it is, outside of a compliment, and not a particularly bad sign... "I'm not going to slap you, if that's what you're wondering."
"Mn, good, it gets a little tiring after a while." Reginald's quick to correct himself, "Not that you have. Just in general." He could feel himself getting a little nervous, so he instinctively pats himself down trying to find a pack of gum again.
Ardette looks down her shoulder and watches him, he looks like a man desperately in need of a cigarette. She knows better, but as always, the language of gestures is the same. He's... anxious? She smirks curiously. "Thank you for the clarification."
Reginald finally finds the bloody thing, but he supposes it's his own fault for having a coat with a zillion pockets in it. "Feel better now though? Now that your curiousity has been sated?"
Ardette crosses her arms and turns to face him. She finds his nervousness fascinating, fun, like following a butterfly through a field. "...who said I ever felt badly?"
Reginald lets out a short laugh, "Oh come, Miss Bombaerts, you were practically thinking of excuses to make me say it. Besides, I didn't say you were feeling badly, I asked if you felt better. You can still feel 'better' when you're feeling good."
Ardette just keeps watching him with a peaceful smirk. "Well, that's a nice philosophy, isn't it?" she says, tilting her head.
"I suppose it is, though I was more speaking as a matter of fact." Ah, there was that look again. She looked so serene when she smiled at him like that. Reginald could feel that urge to say something stupid again, so he's quick to unwrap a stick of gum and start nervously chewing, letting that familiar soft fruity smell fill the air. He does feel a little more calm now that he had something else to do besides think too much.
Ardette wants to grin - there's that goddamned pink lemonade again - but her expression barely changes save for a twitch in her cheek. "A technicality, then. And you?" She doesn't so much lean toward him as much as make her attention to him more intense, alert, tell me more, Santiago. "Do you feel better?"
"Ah... well..." She was doing this on purpose, she just wants to see him squirm a little more, didn't she? Well, Reginald would have to try and not mess up too badly. He has to clear his throat before he even tries to respond, "I do always feel better giving a lovely lady a compliment, especially when she seems to take it well."
Ardette sneers harmlessly, and rolls a shoulder. "Bah, but I'm not lovely. And I'm no lady." A robot, yes. A harpy, sure. A drill sergeant, a hardass, a mythical creature put on the earth to wither the hearts of young steppers, absolutely. "I'm The bloody Choreographer." And she says it proudly.
"I don't see why you can't be all those things," Reginald half-mutters, "I mean, I think you're all those things and you pull it off very well." Not that it means much, perhaps.
Ardette slowly cracks into a grin. She believes him because he can barely keep eye-contact with her insistent gaze as he says it. "Like a party trick," she purrs, scrunching her nose at him.
Reginald can feel the heat rush to his face, though he hopes it doesn't show too badly. "Miss Bombaerts are you doing all this on purpose?" Again, rhetorical, but if he didn't know better he'd swear she was flirting. It's natural that he assumes he's mistaken.
Ardette leans forward and fixes him in place with narrowed eyes. "Absolutely." And she doesn't see Reginald's reaction in his cheeks so much as in his eyes, what little she can see of them behind his shades. She straightens up and assumes her haughty air again. "And just 'Bombaerts' is fine. I told you that."
Reginald probably visibly tensed when she leaned in like that, but again, hopefully not in a manner that's too obvious. "Ah, yes, of course, apologies," he mutters, trying to regain a bit of composure. "I'd ask why you're so intent on trying to get me flustered, but I'm not sure I'll like the answer."
"Oh," Ardette sighs breezily, smoothing down the back of her hair. She looks off at nothing in particular with a smug pout. "Because it amuses me."
"Mn, touché, my dear," Reginald replies. Well, in a way, he was asking for that one, "Do I get a complimentary addendum to that as well, or is that a 'take it or leave it' sort of statement."
Ardette lifts her chin in half a nod. "Aah, you're assuming there's a real answer, and that one wasn't it."
Reginald figured as much, but still.. "So the latter then? Well, I suppose it was a bit hopeful of me to think there was more to it than simply that."
Ardette keeps nodding, looking sage, yes, hopeful indeed, what a shame... "So you don't want the real answer, then," she drawls, flapping a hand. "Ah, I wouldn't either."
Reginald frowns slightly, growing a little fidgety again, "That bad, hm?"
Ardette side-eyes him, watching his fidgets and shifts. "Do you really want to know?"
Reginald thinks on it for a moment, not even sure what to say. He did and he didn't, but he really wasn't sure which way pulled more strongly. "I suppose I do, because otherwise I will assume the worst."
Ardette crosses her arms and faces him squarely. "I think flustered is a good look on you," she states, and the way she lifts her chin when she says it is almost defiant.
Reginald laughs nervously, though it was a different kind of nervous than the one he was feeling seconds ago. "Just promise you won't tell anyone." he teases, "After all, I have a reputation to think of."
Ardette deflates a little and looks away with a roll of her eyes, at the mention of his reputation. "That's exactly why. I've had years to get used to you looking overconfident. It got boring." To say it nicely.
"I'm just teasing you Bombaerts, I don't mean it. You mustn't get yourself worked up." Reginald doesn't know why, but he found himself standing that much closer to her. That little roll of her eyes actually seems charming this time around.
Ardette scoffs out a laugh and puts her hands on her hips. "Do I look worked up?"
Reginald smiles warmly at her, "A little." He seems to be testing just how much of her personal space he can take up before she shoves him off.
Ardette leans forward with a challenging squint and tilts her head. "I'm not the one who's blushing," she whispers. And then she flicks the center of his forehead and walks away.
Reginald doesn't mean to flinch, but he did. Part of him wonders if she did that on purpose to see if he was intentionally masking something. For once, he wasn't. Still he wasn't going to let her just walk away, and he moves quickly to get himself in front of her. "That was rude, Bombaerts," he teases.
"So..." Ardette says, sidestepping around him to keep walking down the hall, "...is that."
Reginald reaches out and clasps her arm before she gets too far, "Come on, why the sudden cold shoulder?
Ardette almost immediately jerks her arm out of his grip, not necessarily because it's a reaction proportionate to the gesture, but a trained reflex of don't-touch-me that's faster than even Reginald is. She smirks, as though to smooth the moment out again. "Because I'm closing up, that's why."
Reginald lets out another string of nervous laughter, hastily shoving both hands in his pockets. "Is that a hint I should leave?"
Ardette can almost feel that nervous laughter as she walks down the hall, feel it trickle down her neck and across her shoulders, and she feels strange. "It's a hint that we should both leave," she says, and, knowing it's a gesture of trust, she flicks off the hallway light, casting them into a brief and narrow dim. "Relax, Santiago." Just... no sudden grabbing.
"Oh, uh, of course. Sorry, sorry." Reginald didn't mean to blurt out 'sorry' more than once, but he feels he crossed a line that he shouldn't have. Still, he keeps his hands in his pockets and finds comfort in the fact she did still trust him enough to allow herself to be stuck in the dark with him. The darkness was comforting in and of itself anyways, but that was just him.
Ardette hesitates, one hand still on the light switch, and she smiles to herself, her back still to Reginald. She's aware that he can probably see her perfectly clearly right now, see the bob of her shoulders as she breathes out a silent laugh. Confident one second, skittish the next; my god, she could still scatter eggshells with mastery, even for a man like Santiago. "Allez," she says warmly, turning around. "Let me walk you out."
Reginald thinks that's a little curious, "I thought you were leaving too...?" Maybe she really was just anxious to be rid of him, but right now he couldn't tell. "More paperwork again?"
Ardette smiles disarmingly and raises a hand. "Correction. You are leaving, I am closing up, then I am leaving." She walks past him into the stark light of her lobby.
"Will you be long? I can wait for you?" Ugh, Reginald sounded desperate, it was ridiculous, but he just wasn't ready to go back to his empty bachelor suite again, having to talk to his own illusions to keep himself company.
Ardette looks over her shoulder at him with an uncertain smirk. "Quoi, are you offering to walk me home?"
Reginald tries to stand up a little straighter, if such a thing were possible. "Well, perhaps I am." God, how ridiculously childish this sounded. He's pretty sure he's said this same thing back when he was still in high school.
Ardette stalls, to appreciate how silly and giddy this feels, to marvel at the completely foreign feeling of being... what, courted? Absurd! She reaches over the reception desk to turn the phone ringer onto silent, and needlessly straightens out a few papers. "Maybe I don't want you knowing where I live," she says lightly.
"Fair enough, I suppose." With Reginald's vibe and all its abilities, he supposes if he were in her situation he'd be wary too. "Well... uh..." He couldn't invite her out somewhere, she probably didn't want to be seen with him, but he has to find some sort of excuse to stick around. "I could walk you part way?" Ah, just when he thought he couldn't sound more desperate.
Ardette can't help it; she starts laughing, a tired, throaty chuckle, warm and sincere. If only he realized that he already walked her part way, about three times, now, actually. She shakes her head at the ceiling an then looks down, pressing the blade of her finger to her lips to try to stem her laughter. She squints at him. "Mn-- no," she says, voice thick with amusement.
Reginald smiles warmly, despite the 'no'. "You do have a beautiful laugh..." he murmurs, staring at her with admiration, and much more than simply that, but he wouldn't allow himself to admit he has such feelings.
Ardette looks down, rolling her jaw around to try to relax her face muscles, stop smiling, idiot, this is stupid. She looks up to see a smile that's comfortable and inviting, that creases handsome lines onto Reginald's face, and she suddenly feels self-conscious. She ticks a finger towards the door. "You're ridiculous, the door is that way, good night," she says in one breath, her laughter still written on her face.
Reginald knows when to leave well enough alone and finally leaves Ardette in peace, "Alright, alright, good night, Bombaerts. Have a safe walk home, regardless." Even though he dreads going back to an empty place, at least now he has something to cheer him up, and something that he might even have to look forward to again. He quickly checks his phone for another excuse to come by with dinner. He snickers at one the results and decides it'll certainly work.
Ardette stays leaning against her reception desk with a peculiar little smirk, until Reginald steps out of her studio, and the slight chill of the night air dissipates as it wafts inside. Only then does she walk forward and lock the front door, turns off the light in the airlock, and locks the airlock door, too. Oh, dear... this could be a problem. Ardette scolds herself as she goes through the motions of sweeping each studio, checking all the windows, and turning off the lights. She shouldn't lead him like that, she shouldn't promise anything she won't deliver. But she didn't promise anything. And even though she can take a guess, in the end, she doesn't know what Reginald really wants. What is she going to do when she runs out of eggshells to scatter? Ardette sighs. That's a question to be chewed over another day, as she begins the long, dangerous, and unaccompanied trip up the stairs to her apartment, just above her head.