Ursula had her voice back, Maleficent found her daughter and Rumplestiltskin was back with his Belle again. Cruella was actually the only one without a happy ending, maybe because she never really understood what a happy ending actually was. Trapped inside a too small town and suddenly no longer at the centre of general attention, she had spent the last weeks spending the last money left in the only thing that never betrayed her: alcohol. A generous dose had the power to lighten her soul, give her peace and, sometimes, even make her forget herself for a few hours.
Gin was her best friend and the Rabbit Hole was an oasis in the disaster of her life.
"The usual, darling"
Even that night she had showed up at the opening and sat right in front of the counter. She was always the first to arrive and the last to leave. However, the lack of answer from the bartender broke the routine and, when she decided to look up, her eyes suddenly widened.
"You! What are you doing here, piece of timber?" she asked, without hiding the surprise in finding the wooden man-child in front of her, instead of the usual barman.
August just hinted a smile, while he kept drying some glasses which were apparently taking all his attention.
"I work here"
Cruella widened her eyes even more, even if, actually, his current activity coudn't have been explained otherwise.
"Really? I've never seen you before" she answered, showing her confusion. And it was symptomatic enough, since she was a habituè of that place.
August shook his head and gave her an amused glance.
"Maybe you were too drunk to notice"
The woman replied with a glare, suggested more by embarassment than annoyance, though. In a second, she tried to remember all the strange things she had done or said during one random night of the many before, but she just couldn't – and she couldn't remember his face as well. She had stooped very low – she admitted to herself in a moment of self-pity - : drinking in public, ending up being caught in a disgusting state by the heroes. While she was thinking, no sound came out her mouth though.
"So, what is your usual?"
Leaning with his arms on the counter and moving his face toward her, it was the man to break the silence, while he was just staring at her curiously. As for him, he had noticed her more than once – and it would have been impossibile the contrary, considering the fur and the unmistakable two cloured hair – but, despite the strange attraction he felt for her, he had never stopped to talk. Anyway, he would have made it up now.
"Let me guess… White Lady?"
Cruella raised a eyebrow clearly confused; in her wide encyclopaedia of alcoholics, there was none with that name.
"Yes… Gin, cointreau, lime juice"
That simple answer succeeded in making her laugh. Now she understood why she didn't know that name and, understanding it, she was feeling almost offended. Who the hell did the think she was? She wasn't a little girl playing trasgressive just to attract her friends' attention! She was a grown up woman who explictly wanted to drown her sorrows - and there was a big difference in that!
And to say it all, a shot was cheaper than a cocktail and, now that she didn't have much money, every dime had its worth.
"A cocktail?" she eventually asked, with an almost disgusted tone. "Cocktails aren't for me… A shot of gin is my usual, darling"
August looked at her even more curiously; now that she had her so close, fear was completely won over by attraction. Everything in her – the eccentric hair, the magnetic eyes, the full red lips – was yelling that she was a maneater. She was the classic type of woman who could make a man loose his mind – and also his wallet… And he was the classic type of man who could let her rule. Suddenly to his eyes, Cruella stopped being the woman who had kidnapped him; quite the contrary, if she had wanted to kidnap him in that moment, he wouldn't have opposed resistance.
"But gin is tasteless… It's only useful to get drunk"
Cruella didn't deny that truth and just watched him for some moments. Beyond the fact that he was a puppet, he was really a handsome man and, judging by how he was talking, he had a certain amount of wits as well. What a shame that for her the only true adjective that mattered was rich. And then, she wasn't looking for company that night and, truth be told, the only man she wanted in her life was called Gin Diamond. Middle name Fur.
"Maybe, that's exactly my purpose, piece of timber… Don't you think?"
Their eyes locked. In some minutes they found themselves to unwillingly play a game and to unawarily flirt.
"So, how long for this shot? Is it coming or I have to prepare it myself?"
The sudden sharp question broke that sort of atmosphere, but didn't scratch the man's mood. On the contrary, he just openly laughed.
"Ms De Vil, you are not exactly the prototype of the ideal customer…" he commented ironically, starting anyway to messing with glasses and bottles behind the counter.
"And you are not the prototype of barman, darling…"
August smiled and interrupted his moves, just to approach her again in an almost confidential way.
"Actually, I am not a simple barman, but the new owner of this place"
The woman's blue eyes widened out of surprise, while an unwilling pleasant smile appared on her lips. With that social leap, the wooden man had just suddenly gained at least ten points.
"Before I was a carpenter and also a writer for a while…"
And then he lost them all again.
"Ah, I've had enough of authors in my life…"
August looked at her confused, while she rolled her eyes and become suddenly nervous without apparent reason. He was even more curious, now that he was feeling close to know something more about her. However, he didn't say anything and simply continued to prepare the drink in silence.
"Here it is!" he exclaimed, giving her an amusing look.
It was a glass too big for a shot and the liquid smelled too strong to be simple gin. The time spent should have been already a suspect, after all. What the woman was having in front of her now, must have been that damned white lady that he had wanted to pass her off since the beginning.
"I'm sure I've ordered-"
"I know. But trust my judgement… It's on the house!"
Cruella raised her eyebrows, annoyed by the fact that she had been contraddicted and interrupted, but also – not unimportant detail – by the fact that she couldn't drink her gin. Even if, as a matter of fact, she wouldn't have said no to a free drink.
After all, she couldn't have complained at all, because August had already abandoned her to serve other customers, even if with his look he didn't leave her until he saw her sipping the drink. It had been his professional ethic to lead him to that action: gin alone was tasteless, in his opinion.
Even if, he found himself asking more than once, if it would have gained taste on Cruella's lips.
My current situation: totally freaking out for the episode. But this is my kinda funny idea to deal with it. Plus, I wanted to write a Wooden Devil long-fic. On a side note: the title comes from my favorite cocktail LoL
Hope you liked this first chapter, let me know:) See you with chapter 2!