The second installment of short-RP-complilations, in which Ardette and Reginald bicker and somewhere along the line accidentally become friends... who flirt.
<Ardette> Next thing it'll be babyface BD
Reginald raises his eyebrows at her. "You're thinking it aren't you? No."
Ardette "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Reginald "Kitten, you're such a terrible liar."
Ardette scoffs. "So, I can think and be silent but you can assume and call me 'kitten'? Go to hell."
"Precisely." Reginald's asking for it, but he doesn't care.
Ardette mutters something in rapid French under her breath.
Reginald laughs, sending a couple of little butterflies right in her line of sight. "Ah, Bombaerts, you really don't like that nickname do you?"
Ardette instinctively shoos away the butterflies, sneering at him. "It's revolting." Kitten? Really? Of all the bloody things...
"Of course it is, why do you think I use it?" This was obviously not a day that Reginald was bothering to avoid stepping on eggshells.
"Because you're an arse." Right to the point today, Bombaerts.
Reginald snorts, which was rather unflattering, but he was trying to not laugh. "Well, why do you call me babyface? If I saw a baby that looked like that, I'd probably drop it in a well."
Ardette jerks away from him to glare at him, looking appalled. "I'm sorry, when in this conversation did I call you a babyface?"
Reginald points at her, "You didn't, but you have, and you can't deny that."
Ardette lifts her chin haughtily and turns away from that pointing finger, looking bored. "But 'babyface' is not a term of endearment."
Reginald "It could be considered one, equally 'Kitten' technically, is not one either."
Ardette "And thank god for that."
Reginald "You didn't answer my question though. Why babyface? It seems... completely not appropriate."
"Because you were one." And it's fun to hold that against him; it's how Ardette can get back at the idiot he used to be.
"I wasn't. Not even in the slightest." Reginald's not even sure if he could take that as a compliment, or an insult, or what.
Ardette just nods. "Mm hmm." She falls back on the assurance of already-uttered words. "A babyface with a mean streak."
Reginald "I'll give you the mean streak, but I'll deny to the death the other one."
Ardette "What a relief that you don't have to agree with me for it to be true."
Reginald scoffs, "Please, you're the only one delusional to think that could possibly be true."
Ardette "Oh, I don't know about that. Why don't you ask your pink-haired friend?"
"That girl needs to get her eyes checked. Or she's up to something." Reginald won't deny the attention is nice, but it made him edgy.
Ardette just holds her hands up and looks away by way of, 'just saying...'
Reginald "Besides, I think the Banditos are just desperate for men."
Ardette "I hope you're talking about recruiting."
"Ha, I wish I was. I'm a little outnumbered." Reginald doesn't mention how grabby a couple of the Banditas have been, but he doubted Ardette would care anyways.
Ardette pouts at him, in a way that makes it obvious she has no sympathy for him. "Aw, pauvre bebe, you should be in your element!" She backhands his arm lightly.
Reginald laughs, amused at the face she made at him, "You act like I was some sort of playboy when I was in the Mafia."
"Well!" Ardette sighs graciously. "I never said you were a good one."
Reginald tries to not look too hurt by the statement. "Ah, well, you'd be right on that."
Ardette "Good thing, too. There's nothing but trouble in it."
Reginald knows some of the pitfalls, but still couldn't resist asking, "Oh? What makes you say that?"
Ardette snerks and looks at him disbelievingly. "Common bloody sense."
"You wouldn't argue that I do lack in that sometimes." Reginald smirks at her.
Ardette "That's the first logical thing you've said all day."
"Do you have experience with dozens of suitors bothering you then, Bombaerts? That sounded more like you were speaking from personal experience." Oh, Reginald loved teasing her about personal things.
Ardette sneers and rolls her eyes away. "Please. Playboys know better than to waste their time with me."
"Ah, but you let me in here all the time. Is it because I'm terrible at being a playboy?" Yes, not very subtle at all, was that, Reginald thought to himself.
Ardette wags a finger at him, frowning thoughtfully. "You know, this is like a reverse 'don't feed the animals,'" she muses, effectively changing the subject. "You've fed me, but now you won't go away."
Reginald hadn't thought of it that way, it's really quite accurate. "Speaking of, any requests for next time?"
Ardette says what she'd like, knowing full well she'll probably regret it later. "Surprise me." Because oh, it's worth the risk when there's so many food items that aren't 'refried cardboard.'
"Mn, alright then. I guess that means you're not picky." Reginald wonders if she'll scold him for buying too much food again? He doubts it.
Ardette seems to jump on the heel of that thought. "Just don't bring a bloody banquet like last time."
Reginald "Aw, why not? I thought you would have liked having leftovers?"
Ardette "You shouldn't spend your cred needlessly like that."
"But, I want to," Reginald insists.
Ardette "So you agree that it's needless."
Reginald "Wanting to do something nice for a friend isn't completely needless."
Reginald will argue for as long as it takes, Ardette.
Ardette frowns. "You don't have to buy my company with vegetables. That should be obvious by now." And she scolds herself for it every day.
"I'm not buying your company, Bombaerts, and I'm a little hurt that you're implying such a thing." Reginald doesn't look at all hurt, if anything he looks terribly pleased.
The arrangement still feels a bit like a hungry Square accepting food from an ex-Mafia benefactor, but Ardette's pride won't let her say that out loud. Even 'a bit' was too much. "No excess," she says, slicing a hand through the air. "I won't let you in."
"You always drive a hard bargain." Perhaps Reginald shouldn't put it that way, considering his 'occupation'. "I'm not just buying food for you, I do buy it for myself too."
Ardette puts a hand on her hip and glowers at him. "You know what I mean." Mr. I-conveniently-don't-eat-leftovers.
Reginald tries to look innocent, "I do, but I'm just saying. Besides, like I said last time, I didn't know what you liked so I just got a bit of everything. It's not my fault I can't eat a lot of the food here."
"Just--" Ardette closes her eyes and holds a hand up to stop him. "--promise you won't overdo it. Please?"
"Alright, alright, I promise." Reginald delicately takes her hand, expecting her to jerk it out of his grip anyways, "Cross my heart?"
Ardette blinks a few times. His hand is warm and solid around hers, and she pulls against it, wrist up, as though drawing her fingers out of some sort of viscous goop. "Alright. Now you're mocking me."
Reginald rubs his fingers together slightly, "I'm not, and by the way, your hands are still cold."
Ardette frees her hand and curls its fingers next to her face, like she should be holding a cigarette there. "What's your point?"
Reginald chuckles, giving her an almost sly grin, "Well, if you hadn't pulled your hand away, I could have helped with that."
Ardette gives him a cool look, the corner of her mouth curling a bit at that grin. "Maybe I prefer them that way."
"Maybe you just don't know any different, come on." Reginald tries to coax her into giving him her hand a second time. "I won't be inappropriate."
Ardette scoffs out a laugh and leans away from him. "This is already inappropriate."
"Well, then what have you got to lose? It's not like anyone's watching, and who do I have to tell?" Why, yes, Ardette, Reginald has an answer to everything.
Ardette can't answer to either of those things. "Christ, I'm like a bloody experiment to you." Laugh, have a compliment, your hands are cold, how many times can I call you kitten before you smack me.
"Mn, pot, kettle, black, my dear," Reginald teases light-heartedly.
Ardette narrows her eyes at him. With a suffering sigh, she squares her shoulders and holds her hand out to him. "Make it quick."
"Both hands, if you would," Reginald requests with practiced politeness, though he does take the hand she offers into one of his own.
Ardette gives him a weird look, but presents her other hand, with visible hesitation. "Okay, what the hell is this, then."
Reginald cups both of her hands in between his, warming them. "What do you mean?" he asks. Her hands were cold, but he knew that, no point mentioning it to her again.
Ardette seems equal parts disappointed and relieved that all he's doing is holding them. She still leans away a bit, trying to keep some of that appropriate social distance. "You just sounded like you were about to perform a magic trick."
"It wouldn't work on you, even if I was," Reginald replies, "I just thought it would be safe to assume both of your hands would be cold." He's really amused by the contrast between the two of them, her fingers seemed so much more slender and delicate when he compared them to his own. Still, since she had mentioned it, he could still use his vibe if it suited him.
Ardette is about to snap at him, yes, they're cold, just like the rest of me-- until she realizes he'd probably offer to hold that, too. She frowns down at their hands together. Just like noticing the cracks in her walls and the scuffs in the paint, now that Reginald is this close, she seems to notice how dry the winter has made her hands and the callous on her knuckle where her pen rests every day. "Well? Am I warm yet? Because obviously you don't trust my judgment."
Reginald smiles slightly at her. "I think they're getting there." He uses his vibe to make it appear as though there was something glowing softly in Ardette's hands. "Just a bit longer," he purrs, not wanting to be shameless enough to admit that he simply liked the feeling of having her hands clasped in his.
Ardette blinks a bit at the warm glow between their palms, and she scowls, going a bit pink. Cheeky bastard. She juts her chin forward at him. "You are ridiculous," she says, and she leaves her hands right where they are as though to let him finish proving her right.
"I do believe you've told me that once or twice already," Reginald replies, running his thumbs against her hands, still maintaining that soft little glow between her palms. He could feel her warming to his touch, little by little, and he found the longer he held on, the less he wanted to let go, but that, in his opinion, was truly ridiculous. "You do feel a little warmer though, if you've had enough," he teases.
Ardette sighs gustily, waiting for this little experiment to be over. She looks bored, but uses this time to familiarize herself with his hands, tan skin sketched with course dark hair, long fingers and bony knuckles, and of course, that ring of his that exasperates her so. They're rough-looking hands, good with knives, but he's surprisingly gentle. And her hands do feel warmer... But rather than admit this, she looks up at him slyly, then claps her hands closed suddenly, squashing his illusion like squishing a moth in mid-air.
Reginald can't help but to laugh at that. It wasn't as though he thought Ardette wouldn't do it, so much as the look she gave him when she clapped her hands together. It was enough to get him to release one of her hands, just so he could cover his mouth in an attempt to stifle his laughter. "And you say I'm ridiculous," he half-heartedly scolds her.
Ardette pulls both her hands free and flexes them, spreading her fingers, rolling her wrists, as though she needs to refamiliarize herself with her own hands, now that they've just been in someone else's. "You are," she says, lifting her chin. She rubs her hands together, and they're quite warm. "You also maintained an illusion through touch. Well done."
Reginald clears his throat, trying to calm himself again. "I've been practicing. It's... probably still kind of useless on its own, but I thought you'd be pleased." Not that he was further honing his vibe to impress her, no, of course not.
Ardette shakes her head, giving him a stern look. "That's not useless. That can double your scope." Vibe, thank god, familiar ground, not this shaky territory of soft touches and dinner not-dates. "But that's making an illusion with contact already established. I don't suppose you can keep an illusion going when you're--" She reaches forward and flicks his sleeve. "--freshly interrupted."
"That, I'm still working on. Using vibe when I'm already touching someone... is something I could do before, but only when I was dancing. Dance, is different, it's like my vibe and my movement can work together without me having to actively focus on it. It's like I go into a trance." Reginald gives a couple nervous glances around the hall, even though he knew there was no way someone could have gotten inside without Ardette knowing.
Ardette doesn't get him, sometimes. He startles her with his bouts of romanticism, but when talking about something as true as vibe and dance, he gets fidgety and almost ashamed of it. She crosses her arms tight around her middle (hugging her warm hands close to her sides) and tilts her head. "That's because dance and vibe come from the same place. You're not the only one who goes into that, euh..." She tries to find a better word for it, and she can't. "'Trance.'"
"Do you? I admit, I haven't had the priviledge to see you dance. I don't even know your vibe, Bombaerts." No, Reginald mustn't ask, she never seemed to like to talk of herself very much. "...but I'm not asking for a demonstration, if you don't feel comfortable doing so."
For as much as Ardette loves to talk about other people's vibe, talking about her own is sort of like airing out the family divorce: an unfortunate technicality that sometimes forces its way into other people's lives, but a fact about herself nonetheless. "Let's just say that, for me..." She looks away, looking at Studio A's observation window, needing to picture herself in that space to describe her personal 'trance.' "Things make sense."
Reginald smiles slightly. He was always curious about how other people's vibes worked as well, but he genuinely didn't know Ardette's beyond that one time she managed to close curtains with it. That didn't really explain much about her vibe though, not enough that his curiousity was satisfied. "I know how that feels. It's like nothing else..."
Ardette almost wants to tell him that, no, Santiago, you don't understand; things make actual sense, literal sense, an objective, universal sort of sense... "That's part of why I do what I do. People respect the Vibe more once they've experienced that." But only a small part, the tiny romantic part still inside her, somewhere, that isn't in it for the cred or principle.
Reginald can respect that. It was why he was so desperate to dance. Even if it was alone in a section of his suite, he needed to feel that perfect high of consciousness and unconsciousness. He wanted so say so aloud, but he almost felt silly. "I still remember the first time I really felt connected to my vibe. It was at this little square club, fancied old music from the 20s to the 40s. Before the factions started up. It's still around, I think."
<Reginald>: pfft and then I had to go look at this thread again http://tewi.us/tegaki/dblog.php?u=42996&e=1702758
<Ardette>: NO KEES FOR YOU
<Ardette>: Oh, Benson
<Reginald>: Benson is so goddamn cute
<Ardette>: Ugh, he completely is
<Ardette>: I friggen LOVE his vibe, it's so creative
<Reginald>: I just want to hug him
<Reginald>: he did make Reginald laugh, so he's somewhat appreciative
<Ardette>: And Reginald is all, ew, you're getting CUTE on me, I have an image to maintain
Reginald "Too grabby."
Ardette "Must be a Bandito thing."
Reginald "Must be. I don't know how to take it."
Ardette "Well, if you're going to start speaking their language, don't do it here."
Reginald "I had no intent to, so you don't need to worry."
Ardette "Oh, good."
Reginald mutters under his breath, "Not that I wouldn't want to, mind you, but not just randomly for no reason behind it."
Ardette wrinkles her nose and leans forward. "I'm sorry, what was that?"
Reginald smirks at her, "Mn? Nothing."
Ardette is peaceably silent for a few seconds... then: "I could snap you over my knee if I wanted to."
"I know you could, it's terrifying, but intriguing." Not that Reginald repeats what he had muttered, no, he didn't want to make it too easy.
Ardette squares her shoulders haughtily. "Good. As long as you know that." Oh, she heard him alright.
Reginald "I do, and that's why I try to behave."
Ardette "I shudder to think about how you would behave without me."
Reginald "What do you mean? I assure you I'm a gentleman, even on my worst days."
Ardette "And what kind of days are those?"
Reginald "I can't imagine you'd be interested in me at my worst. I don't let myself out in the company of other people."
Ardette "A mercy for the whole Island, I'm sure."
"It's a mercy for me, anyways. I'm sure the rest of the island would probably get some sort of schadenfreude from it." Reginald's probably mispronouncing that word terribly, but one could figure out what he meant.
Ardette smirks at him. "'Schadenfreude,'" she corrects him. "You just love being vague, don't you."
"Mn, thank you," Reginald replies, "And I do, because you already know the glaring flaws in my vibe, I don't know how I'd feel if you knew all of my flaws."
"So, you... dangle them in front of my face like bait." Ardette nods to herself. "Charming."
Reginald "That is simply because I talk too much and don't know when to cut myself off."
Ardette squints at him... but then smiles a peculiar smile. "Also charming."
Reginald isn't sure what to make of that look she's giving him. "You just want to know everything about me now, don't you?" he teases.
Ardette scrunches her nose at him. "I like to be well-armed."
Reginald chuckles, god, he loved it when she did that, "Against me? Well, I suppose you would be less likely to sell me out for quick cred or a shot at a lofty title... hm?"
Ardette scoffs at the very suggestion. "Quick cred? Bah, non... Long, sprawling cred, maybe."
"I can't imagine a scenario where someone could make long term cred for turning on me." Which, indeed, made Reginald feel a little more at ease.
Ardette "Don't flatter yourself, Santiago. I'm not going to 'turn on you.' That implies we're both facing the same direction."
Reginald isn't sure how to take that. "...and you're the one wanting to know what I'm like at my worst? I'm starting to think this is just additional insurance in case I turn out to be more trouble than I'm worth."
Ardette rolls her eyes and deflates a little. "Who would possibly want that sort of information, first of all?"
Reginald "Mn, who knows, but would I be wrong in my assumption?"
Ardette "You're making a lot of assumptions. Which one are you referring to?"
Reginald probably shouldn't be putting her in this sort of situation, "It's difficult to let myself be too vulnerable, Bombaerts, I shouldn't be so suspicious, but I acknowledge it's my own fault for putting the bait out there, I suppose."
Ardette sighs gustily and gives him a stern look. "If you're talking about your vibe, you have my confidence, and you know that. I'm a choreographer and a bloody professional."
"I'm not talking about my vibe, this time," Reginald says. "Besides, you already know the extent of its weaknesses." Though not necessarily all of its strengths yet.
"Then we're actually talking about nothing, because you haven't actually said anything." Nothing of substance, at least. But Ardette was right in her assessment of him; he's a talker.
Reginald takes in a deep breath, as though assessing how much he cares to really talk about himself again. "What does your vibe do?" he asks instead.
Ardette wags a finger at him. "You really need to work on your transitions."
<Ardette>: I find it funny that Reginald's so self-conscious about the way he looks, and didn't really get a whole lot of flirtatious attention...
<Ardette>: ...until his life went upsidedown and he's a Bandito now
<Ardette>: NOW IT'S EVERYWHERE
<Reginald>: and he just doesn't know how to handle it
<Reginald>: his first thought is always that there's something wrong with them. He's convinced Dympna's near sighted XD
<Reginald>: he's just out of his element
Ardette Digging for complimeeeents~
Reginald "You're just as bad... I'm not digging for compliments, I'm just being honest."
Ardette scoffs. "How am I just as bad?"
Reginald "You seem to not believe me when I do pay compliments to you."
Oh, that. Ardette sneers and flaps a hand at him, stupid subject, moving on.
Reginald points at her, "That's exactly what I'm talking about."
Ardette holds her hands out. "What am I doing!"
Reginald "You can't take a compliment any better than I do, but I can't figure out why you don't."
"Can we try to have a conversation of actual substance?" Ardette says. Because this topic is ridiculous.
Reginald "No, you know, I don't want to drop this, I can't figure out why a beautiful woman like yourself is trying to convince someone like me that she isn't."
Ardette goes a little pink, and winces at the absurdity of it. "Convince y--? Santiago," she huffs and glares at him. "Do you know how many people have called me beautiful?"
Reginald flushes slightly, "Probably quite a lot, if they had any sense."
Ardette points at him. Oh, it pains her to do this, when he seems to mean it sincerely. "--far more than the number of people who didn't expect anything of me afterwards."
Reginald hadn't really thought of it that way. He was prepared to argue further with her, but it was an oddly familiar sentiment in a way. "Ah... I'm sorry, I didn't mean... well, I meant what I said about you, but I just didn't mean to bring up something unpleasant."
Ardette deflates with a sigh and looks away. It's a lot harder to accept a genuine compliment than it is to reject a more motivated one. "That's..." She hesitates, struggling to commit to it. "...very kind of you to say, Reginald." First name and all. "I'm just tired of hearing it."
Reginald lets out a soft sigh that echoes hers, "In an odd way... I know how empty it feels when you hear things like that." He lets out a short laugh, "What am I even saying, I don't... I don't really know how you feel. I'm sorry..."
Ardette closes her eyes and holds up a hand to stop him. "Don't apologize. It's... sweet of you. Truly." She can't just scoff it off as flowery words with not-so-flowery motive, when she knows he does mean it. Truly. Which must be why she feels so self-conscious all of a sudden. "But you know I've never needed to hear anything like that from you."