WIP Wednesday: 2/17/21
…wasn’t the point of posting yesterday bc I wasn’t going to have time to post today? I’m still crashing hard, but I mentioned earlier I MIGHT post a snippet from Ch2 of Hey Stupid, and Mal made the oh-so-convincing argument of “as long as you’re home by midnight…”
Ch2 gets Stupid, y’all. 😁
And then it
was Wednesday, and the tent he showed up at was even crazier than the one
they’d been using the past two days, and when the tech escorted him to the
vanity he’d be using he was surprised to find Marinette sitting in his chair,
her head tipped back and mouth open as a half-eaten granola bar dangled
precariously from her hand. She was dead
there like that…he paused as the tech prattled on about times and models and where
to send them, barely hearing any of it before the tech dashed off. Something in him twisted as he took her in,
sitting in his chair like she belonged there.
Like she always would. In that
moment, it was easy enough to imagine a life where he would come home from a
gig to find her passed out amidst sketches and fabric scraps. Where he would wake her with a gentle shake
and a kiss, where he would make her dinner (or breakfast, given his usual schedule)
and make sure she was taking care of herself.
Where he could take care of her for her.
Where…but no. Because that wasn’t
the life meant for him. He’d made sure
of that, and after this week he’d be gone again. Like he was supposed to be. He had to remind himself of that: that this
was all just an accident. He was only
there because of an accident. This
entire week (and, he was sure, the weeks and months leading up to it) had been
crazy for her, so she was just exhausted.
She probably hadn’t even realized it was ‘his’ chair – had probably just
seen an empty spot and collapsed. There
was no ulterior motive here. She wasn’t
seeking him out, because she didn’t know who he was. Because if she did, she’d toss him out of
here sooner than he could say I’m sorry. And it would be over all over again.
Juleka’s text from the night before kept flashing before his eyes, taunting the
thing twisting in him that he was steadfastly trying to ignore: Mari was looking for you after the show.
To thank the Makeup Guy, though. Not because she wanted Luka Couffaine. She’d never
With a heavy
sigh, he put his bag down on the vanity and turned towards her, crouching
before the chair and taking her granola bar before she dropped it. He wondered if it was just a pick-me-up or
the only thing she’d eaten recently. He
laid a hand on her knee and gently shook.
he called softly, smiling as she grumbled and stirred. He shook her again.
she murmured, and he froze, his grip tightening on her knee. His heart stopped in his chest. Had she just…did she…her brow furrowed, and
she shifted again. Sleepy eyes blinked
open at him. He tried to swallow, but
his mouth was suddenly too dry.
choked out, coughing a little to clear his throat. He forced a smile (well, not exactly forced, though in his frazzled state it
did take a bit more effort than it otherwise would) and tried again. “Good nap?”
scrunched adorably, her eyes scanning his face for a moment like she
was…reorienting. Waking up. Definitely not like she actually recognized him. Her eyes shot open a moment later and she
jerked up, flailing a little as she came to.
He jumped back, holding his hands up, to avoid being accidentally
“Oh my God, I
fell asleep!” she yelped, her head swiveling as she looked around the bustling
tent. Her eyes landed back on him, her
expression a mix of nerves and terror.
“What time is it? How long until
the show? Oh my God, how long did they
let me sleep? How –?”
“Whoa, whoa –
easy!” he said, crouching down again and reaching for her knees. He squeezed, hoping to steady her, and she
closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths.
“You’re good. I just got here –
you still have a few hours before the show.
sorry,” she sighed, reaching up to rest a hand on her heart. She took a few more focused breaths, and when
she opened her eyes again she looked much calmer. He tried to ignore the way that thing inside him (his heart, he was
pretty sure it was his heart) twisted again as he remembered the summer before
she started lycée, when they’d started meditating together and he’d taught her
some of his breathing techniques.
Techniques she was still using, it seemed. “It’s…been a long week. I haven’t been sleeping as much as I could
be, and every time I do…”
off, and he swallowed at the almost haunted look in her eyes.
…she had said his name.
mean…had she…had she been dreaming about him often?
owe me an explanation,” he said, squeezing her knee. He hoped he didn’t sound as abrupt as that
had felt. “I’m just here to do your
leaning forward to press her face into her palms. His breath caught at how close the motion
Makeup. Ok. Wednesday, right? It’s Wednesday,” she breathed. Her fingers – tipped with pink nails so much
more immaculate than his chipping black – rubbed little circles into her
skin. She took another breath, pushing
it out slowly. “The Bourgeois show. Two
looks. I’ve got this.”
this,” he echoed. When she looked up at
him, he smiled, and she finally smiled back.
“I should get
back to work,” she said, peeking out at him from under her hands. He nodded.
“I should move so you can get
a good idea,” he said, squeezing her knee again. He should move his hand. “Schedules and deadlines and all that.”