Here's a tiny little ficlet to celebrate the birth of the indescribably awesome musesfool. V, a little Middleman for you - I just wish I'd been able to make them talk and plot for longer! Happy birthday!
"Cornstarch and Coconut"
"Great galloping goldfish, Dubbie!" the Middleman said, sounding more horrified than a Victorian lady finding her niece in a compromising position with a few of the more virile stableboys. "Has the Chromatic Conundrum returned?"
Wendy could feel the endorphins leaking out of her system, most likely in some sort of unpleasantly shaded goo. Ha. Let Ida clean that up and take a sample away for drug screening.
"No such luck, boss," she said, trying not to think of Lacey purring Sexy Boss Man and crooning that she was going to need a detachable shower-head after all. With Lacey's afternoon plans so clearly laid out, Wendy had come to work, remembering that spacious locker-room with its fantastic water pressure, determined to take full advantage. "Lacey and I just did a Color Run."
She looked up quickly enough to catch the way his face softened a little at the mention of her roommate. He seemed to will himself out of needing a moment, standing proudly before her like a particularly impassive statue. "So this -" he said, rubbing a bit of pigment from her hem between his thumb and index finger, "is not a coded message from a particularly cryptic and prismatic crank?"
"Just cornstarch, boss," she reassured. "I'm gonna go clean up. Unless you want to spar?"
"No," he said, shaking his head for emphasis; that was unnecessary, and she started to worry that the thought of Lacey was getting to him.
"Boss, you know, maybe you could come by for dinner tonight?" she asked.
His throat quivered with a quick swallow. "No," he said again, but he smiled to take away any sting she might have felt from the rejection.
Ida sniffed very audibly as she went by and muttered something that sounded like a diatribe against hippies, which was pretty rich, considering the avocado paisley she was rocking. Ida really needed to consult a Cosmo or something and find a palette that worked with her plastic complexion.
The industrial-strength shampoo she remembered from last time wasn't anywhere to be found; instead, there was a reasonably nice coconut-scented 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner. Huh. Maybe someone had realized her hair really did need some moisture if it was going to bounce back from fish slime and the icy waters of the North Atlantic. The smell of coconut hung heavy and sweet in the air as she lathered up, and she wondered if Lacey was having better luck getting this stuff out of her hair than she was. Though, being Lacey, she might just have left all the colors in.
Lacey deserved someone who saw how awesome she was, and maybe the boss-man was it. So what was up with his constant denials? Out of date as that jacket was, he wasn't like Steve Rogers or anything, frozen and then released into an unanticipated future; he was allowed to be happy, wasn't he?
She was the one who'd kept them apart, so it was up to her to fix things. Maybe she'd get him talking about that Chromatic Conundrum he'd mentioned - if he had pictures of himself looking like he'd been tie-dyed, she'd laugh her ass off - and bring him home for some horchata. And maybe she'd get Lacey to fish out her copy of Ride Lonesome. She could make it work.
The trick was to stay cool and go with the flow, be totally low-key in exactly the way she hadn't been when she'd first stumbled onto their mutual attraction. It was time to make that up to both of them. Really, she thought as she tugged at a particularly persistent knot in her hair, her plan was sheer elegance in its simplicity.
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.
This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/429402.html.