The first of a handful of short-RP-complilations, in which Ardette and Reginald bicker and somewhere along the line accidentally become friends.
<Ardette>: Tsk, look at Reggie making friends
<Reginald>: yeah, I want to actually finish it off
<Reginald>: ah ha ha, sort of
<Reginald>: in canon they haven't gotten to friends yet
<Reginald>: I'd say they're still at the 'I sort of tolerate you, but if you cross me, you're going to get it' stage.
<Ardette>: That's a good place to be.
Ardette nods sagely
<Reginald>: She's so tiny compared to him blolll
<Ardette>: And that's with the skates on, even XD
<Reginald>: I know right? lol
<Ardette>: Jolly green giant, that guy >BP
<Cross>: |:Bc the best kind
Reginald "Noo, please."
Reginald "No cutesy nicknames"
Reginald "I'm a cold blooded killer."
Ardette "And a babyface."
Reginald "Now you're just pushing your luck, my dear."
Ardette "Where the hell did 'kitten' come from anyways? Ugh."
Reginald "Just testing which words get the best reaction and I liked the reaction I got from that one."
Ardette just gives him her patented I-hate-you smile.
<Cross>: familiar territory im sure
Reginald is very familiar with this smile. Reginald "I promise I won't call you that in front of other people."
<Cross>: specify terms, there are sentient notpeople on this damn pile of dirt
Ardette "Just like I promise to call you Santiago in polite company."
Reginald "You have to admit it rolls off the tongue nicely."
Ardette "Mm, but you aren't polite company."
Reginald scoffs, "Nonsense, I'm perfectly polite."
Ardette ignores that and tries saying his name with different accents as though to test this theory.
Reginald lets her amuse herself with his name. It amused him as well, so why not.
Ardette hums thoughtfully, then makes an iffy gesture with her hand. "Eh, it's alright."
Reginald "Mn, we always did have different tastes."
Ardette "We still do."
"Well..,we can agree on some things I think." Reginald couldn't think of anything off hand, besides the joy of their bickering.
Ardette snerks. "Name one."
Reginald has to pause a moment. "We both liked the food I brought in."
Ardette raises her hands. "Take your point."
Reginald smirks, "Of course, I had something custom, but that place is particularly good. The head chef has some sort of food related vibe, so the produce is actually somewhat fresh...if one doesn't mind vibe food, of course."
<Ardette>: So, yes, Reggie, Ardette is being quite serious when she says she WILL HURT YOU if you show up disguised as Cross
<Ardette>: And she will have very little sympathy for him when his disguise drops and it's Reginald after all XD
Ardette "Thank you."
Reginald "Well, if I ever come to the door as Cross and you end up laying me flat, then I'll have damned well deserved it."
Ardette reaches for a pen. "Hold on, I want to get that in writing."
Reginald "Tch, fine."
Ardette "On second thought, do I have to write it in blood? Is that how you operate these days?"
"Depends on my services," Reginald quips. "And no, it won't be necessary for this one."
Ardette slides a notepad and a pen in his direction. "But not a favor."
Reginald laughs, "No, no, not a favour."
Reginald can't believe he's writing this out. Has he lost his mind? Well, it was amusing to say the least.
<Ardette>: not a favor
<Ardette>: not a date
<Ardette>: disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer
<Reginald>: yup lol, he's getting used to it
Ardette drums her nails against her desk, waiting patiently.
Reginald slides the paper back to her. Surprisingly, it's devoid of any small print or, as the profession would like to call it, 'weasel words'. He knows better. "Is this sufficient?"
Ardette makes a show of straightening out the paper, holding it up, and scanning through it with a critical frown. "Hmn-- Yes, this is sufficient."
Reginald "But just so you know, even though I have it written down and all, it still hasn't completely discouraged me from disguising as Cross. Mn, but then, to my knowledge, you haven't attacked me yet, so maybe I mustn't poke the hornet's nest."
Ardette gives him a tight little smile. "I told you. He's not welcome in my studio. Don't poke the hornet's nest."
"I respect that. I swear, I'm just teasing you," Reginald replies, intentionally not grinning at her, so she doesn't think he's just further trying to aggrivate her.
Ardette rolls her eyes and flaps a hand at him, effectively ending the subject of Cross.
"So, given any more thought to lessons?" Reginald asks. Bringing up yet another old topic.
Ardette knows exactly what he's asking and pretends not to. "I think about lessons all the time."
Reginald lets out a short laugh, "Any of those thoughts ever involve teaching me?"
Ardette throws a hand up and shrugs. "You know my repertoire, Santiago! What could I possibly teach you?"
Reginald "I don't know. I'm just trying to expand my skill set. Goodness knows when the next time I'd have to dance against UG, the Mafia or another Bandito could be..."
Ardette "Are you trying to make me take pity on you?"
"Come now, Miss Bombaerts, do you really think I'd do that poorly?" Reginald wouldn't really be hurt if she said yes, really, but he was persistent.
Ardette snorts. "Quoi, in a class, or in a battle?"
Reginald "Ah... you already know why battles are difficult for me, but now for the sake of arguement, let's just stick with dealing with a class."
Ardette dips her chin and shakes her head at him. "I know you don't play nice with others, for one thing."
Reginald "I do, but I also know that faction ties mean nothing to you, and this might be one of very few places where I can practice without getting... much grief."
It's not the grief he might get that Ardette's worried about... But anyways: "And sharing a barre with a bunch of babyfaced prettyboys?"
Reginald shrugs slightly, "Not any different than my nights out at the clubs to begin with."
Ardette smirks at him - predictable answer from Santiago. "Alright. Style, then."
Reginald "That's where I'm a little unsure. I can't say I have a preference past, well, not doing ballet, so I'm open-minded."
Ardette holds her hands up, yeah, yeah, not ballet, she knows. "Well, that rules out classical and contemporary ballet, then."
Reginald laughs, "You keep giving me that look when I say that, I swear I'm not putting down the style, it just doesn't suit me."
Ardette leans forward and gives him an imperious look. "Trust me, I wouldn't push a style on you if I thought it didn't suit you."
Reginald "I know, but you just seemed so... offended?"
"Bored," Ardette corrects him, and then mutters to herself, "Christ, it's like ballet is dying on this island."
"Mn, it's possible? I admit it's been a while since I've seen a stepper whose primary style was ballet..." And Reginald would know, it's his business to spy on people.
"It's a shame," Ardette sighs. "A lot of steppers could probably use the discipline."
<Ardette>: But-- oh yeah, and touch dissolves the illusion so he couldn't partner dance
<Reginald>: I'm thinking of letting that one use of his vibe have a little more lenience
<Reginald>: just because I'd love for him to totally spy it up a little
<Reginald>: though if you can break his concentration the diguise will eventually fail
Reginald ExCUSE me?
<Ardette>: Quiet, Ardette, just because you're not the spy for once
Ardette innocent look
Reginald "You're just jealous."
Ardette "Am I? Of what?"
Reginald "My talents. Come on, haven't you ever wanted the ability to disappear, literally, for a while?"
Ardette "Literally? No, not really."
Reginald "I suppose I have, which is why I enjoy it so much. I could do use my vibe on you... but it's more tiring."
Ardette "Are you offering or are you just bragging?"
Reginald smirks, "Well, a little of column 'A', a little of column 'B'."
Ardette snerks and rolls her eyes. "Kind of you."
Reginald "I thought you'd agree. It's a little strange to use my vibe on another person though. I haven't had to do it in a long time."
Ardette hums thoughtfully. "It sounds... fragile. Using your vibe on a second party, I mean. It must be hard to believe in an illusion you're an active participant in."
Reginald "It is. Which is why I don't use it in that way much."
Reginald "Not anymore, I should be more clear."
Ardette "And when you did...?"
Reginald "I used to when I was in the Mafia. Usually on more... dirtier jobs. I'd mask someone with a more offensive vibe to ambush targets. I'd often take the fall for it, but when I can turn around and make myself disappear, it's not so bad."
Ardette puts her chin in her palm and studies him. "I can't tell if you're too proud, too honest, or just possess no filter."
"Would you prefer I lie?" Reginald asks, genuinely wanting her honest answer on this.
Ardette shakes her head, chin still in hand. The word 'confessional' floats to the top of her mind again. "No."
Fair enough, Reginald reasons, "Mn, I will show some restraint, though. I keep forgetting how much things have changed since the war, so I tend to carry on about those sorts of topics as casually as one discusses the weather."
Ardette wrinkles her nose. "You think the dirty work offends me?" She straightens in her seat. "Christ, Santiago, what do I do for a living?"
"I'd rather I not make you feel like you should be distrusting me," Reginald says. "That is all." Business was business after all...but somehow that made it worse. At least if you had a grudge against someone you could try and justify it.
Ardette eyes him with a peculiar smirk. "Fair enough..." After a beat: "...Did you ever get left behind?"
Reginald sighs softly, "Oh sure, it's happened a few times." He seems hesitant to continue. "...but I suppose I was still young."
Ardette frowns at him. "...which makes it excusable," she asks, flatly.
Reginald doesn't have an immediate answer for that. Of course he'd excused it at the time. He was young, inexperienced, just barely getting his feet wet in the pool that was the Funk Mafia. He had so desperately wanted to impress the Don, that he volunteered too readily for these sorts of jobs. Finally he responds simply, "Maybe."
Ardette hums. She has plenty of those 'young' ones as her students, trying to up their game in battle, or simply dance their way out of Grey. On days when she doesn't see it as teaching people more creative ways to kill each other, she sees it as giving these kids a fighting chance. "I'm sorry you feel that way."
Reginald "It's complicated Miss Bombaerts. Well, it wasn't back then, but I'm sure it's no surprise to you that I've been having doubts."
Ardette "Of course. That's why you keep on coming here."
Reginald "That's not the only reason, but I don't care to embarrass myself again."
Ardette "I can take a guess."
Reginald "I'm sure that you can."
Ardette "Studio A."
"Again? Really?" Was she going to get Reginald to show off again? Well, it's alright if that was the case.
Ardette wags a finger at him. "You're using me for Studio A. No, no, don't deny it. I've seen the way you look at it." She shakes her head at him, disgraceful.
Reginald laughs, ah, now he understood, "It is very lovely Miss Bombaerts, and it's certainly something to be proud of, but if I merely wanted the studio space, I'd gladly pay you to use it."
Ardette bobs her eyebrows and looks away. "Don't I know it," she says, sounding as enthused as she always does when talking about entering a business arrangement with him.
"Look, Miss Bombaerts, I know you're not ignorant about my goings on, and I respect the fact that you don't approve, but what is it going to take to convince you that I'm not out to scam you?" Reginald asks. "I've been doing my best to follow by all your rules." Not a favour, not a date, et cetera, et cetera.
Ardette has to think about how to articulate this. Yes, he was following all her rules, trying to pass all her tests, walking on the eggshells she scatters. "You have," she admits, tipping her head to him. "But... you seem to have some ultimate goal in mind, and I don't know what that is."
"I just need a friend, Miss Bombaerts." Perhaps more than just a friend, but Reginald's not stupid, she's made her position clear. "You think I'd go out of my way to look like an idiot to just anyone?" Would he have shared the components of his vibe, but he didn't say that aloud. He didn't want her to think he was using it as leverage.
Ardette studies his face for a long moment. Really, the only reasons she has to distrust him are the obvious ones. And she's gotten good at overlooking the obvious reasons, when they live on an island run by mobs. "True... but you'd be lying if you told me that my, euh... unique position had nothing to do with it."
"Of course it did," Reginald says. "For as much grief as I give you for your fight to stay neutral, I don't exactly have a lot of places to turn to... anyone else wouldn't have been as receptive to having me around. At least you'll hear me out."
Ardette nods silently. He has a point. And she'd be lying herself if she said she disliked their little chats, hell, she even found herself expecting him when the front door jingled at an odd hour... But still, she's reluctant to teach him, and quick to deny the attraction she suspects is there. Always at arm's length. "Well," she clears her throat. "You're wrong about one thing. It isn't a fight."
"Well, that's good, I shouldn't make assumptions on it, I suppose, but I don't really understand what it's like," Reginald says.
"Hmmnon, you never did," Ardette says, smirking at him almost fondly. "Give it a couple more months in Grey, and maybe you will."