I was glad to hear a lot of people in solidarity with me and Jaune from last chapter, sharing instances where they had to be told – to their faces – that a girl liked them, because they were too dense to see the obvious signs. Glad to see I wasn't the only one.

And, of course, the usual "Why you hate and be mean to Pyrrha all the time".

Truth is, Pyrrha always gets to suffer in my stories because her attraction to Jaune is canon. I often have to include it because it IS a canon event. It was established by RT. I'm not "constantly making her like Jaune" as some weird attack on her, but because it is a part of her character in the show that she has these problems expressing herself, etc. It's a core part of her character development to face those issues and grow as a result. Sure, I could take away her attraction for Jaune, but I might as well also take away Yang and Ruby being sisters, or Ren and Nora knowing one another. If it's not important for the plot to do so, I usually don't. Once or twice I have, however. I.e. Pyrrha never had feelings for Jaune in Professor Arc because she saw him as an authority figure first and foremost, and thus didn't have the chance to think of him romantically.

Anyway, this is the last SWS before Christmas due to my week off. The next one won't be for three weeks. Date at the bottom will be accurate.

Cover Art: Jack Wayne

Chapter 35

Friday marked the calm before the storm. Or storms, as it turned out. There was the storm that was Café Prime being found complicit in damaging innocent businesses and helping a councillor falsify documents to deal with a competitor, the storm that would be Sterling's attempt to buy him out last second, and then also the storm that was Miltia asking him out on a date.

The latter didn't deserve to be a storm but considering that he and the diner had become some kind of viral hit – for what scandalous things went on more than their coffee – meant that any news was big news. It was honestly ridiculous.

"And this is the meme about Miltia being a dentist. Vale's best dentist."

Jaune glared at Russel over the top of the scroll which, obviously, showed an image of him pinned to the floor, Miltia's tongue very much buried in his mouth. "You're enjoying this, aren't you?"

"You just realised that?"

"Of course…" He wasn't sure what he'd expected. "Guess you're less than sympathetic."

"Sympathy? Jaune, I don't think you deserve sympathy for having a hot girl make out with you."

"I've never been on a date before."

"Well, I guess she deserves sympathy then, but still… everyone starts out never having been on a date. That's how people get their first."

"No, you don't understand. I've never done anything significant with a girl before. I've had female friends, female sisters, but I have zero idea how to be romantic." Jaune gripped Russel by the apron and dragged him close. The taller man could have escaped but didn't. "Help me."

Russel laughed nervously. "I can't."


"Because despite your flatteringly high confidence in my abilities with the ladies, I've never been out with a girl either." Russel shrugged. "Sorry."

Jaune's mouth fell open. "You haven't!?"

"Okay, now I'm really flattered you think so highly of me." Russel broke free with a little laugh. "But seriously, do I look like the kind of guy who has girls falling over to date him? Don't answer that question. If you want advice… honestly, I don't know who you should ask. Yang?"

"I… really don't want to put myself through that."

"Fair." Russel didn't ask why. He didn't have to. "I can't think of anyone else who would know, though. Maybe Blake's dated. Doubt the Schnee or Ruby have. Velvet doesn't act like she has, and I think going to her teammate would be a bad idea. I can't even suggest Cardin. I think he had a girlfriend once, but it was more she just found him hot and he was popular back home. They didn't stay together long."

Jaune swore. On the one side, it was good to know he wasn't so far behind everyone as he'd first thought. On the other, it meant his only source of advice was Yang, or him and Ruby going over Blake's books some more. The latter seemed a bad idea; they hadn't found much the first time, and even he knew having a sleepover with Ruby moments before going on a date with another girl, was going to look bad.

Hell, even Ruby would turn that down, not wanting to get him in trouble.

"What do I do?"

"Well, I don't know, but you could ask from a girl's perspective…"

Velvet, who had been close enough to listen in – though she'd claim she hadn't been eavesdropping if asked – realised where the question was going and quickly scooped up a tray and tried to move away. She froze when Jaune and Russel's eyes fell on her.

"I'll handle that," Russel said, stealing her tray and using his other hand to steer her in the direction of her panicked boss. "Help him out, Vel. Kay, thanks, bye."

"I really shouldn't," Velvet whispered.

Jaune gave her the most plaintive, hopeful look he could muster.


"Please, Velvet…"

She clenched her eyes shut. "I'm really not the right person for this, Jaune. Not to… say anything bad about your date, but I don't think we're similar, even if we are both girls. She's a little more… confident than I am."

"But you're still a girl."

Velvet rolled her eyes. "Thanks for noticing."

"So, you can tell me what girls like."

"Can you tell me what every guy in existence likes? No? Well I can't tell you what every girl likes. People are different." Velvet saw the sheer panic on his face and relented. "Look, you'll be okay. She asked you out. That means the impetus is on her to show you a good time. Just be yourself and try to have fun."

It was the same advice he'd seen online in his brief forays last night, and the same advice he'd heard from other people he talked to. Be yourself, act natural, don't panic. It all sounded so casual and easy, just treating a date with a pretty girl like you would any other event.

Absolute bullshit was what it was.

"If I acted normal on a date, it wouldn't be a date, though…"

Velvet paused, caught out by what Jaune felt was rather stellar logic. "Uh, I guess…"

"I mean, if there was a guy you liked, and you worked up the nerve to ask him out, would you want him to come on the date dressed like he usually does, putting no effort in, farting and talking about the latest sports game?"

"No." Velvet's eyes narrowed. "No, I would not."

"Exactly! So, what do I do?"

Velvet hummed, but this time didn't say to `just be himself`. In the end, she shook her head. "Sorry, Jaune. I really don't have any idea. I've been on as many dates as Russel. None. Coco has, but I don't think asking her would be a good idea."

Russel said that too, though Jaune had a feeling he knew why for once. He nodded and let it go.

"I suppose the best I can say is to not try and be something you're not. If you do and she likes it, you'll have to pretend to be that something, and that'll make you miserable. Um. Dress up a little? Look smart? Don't do anything gross or silly. It' about the best advice I can offer."

"I guess it'll have to do…"

"Yeah." Velvet smiled awkwardly and shifted on one foot. When Jaune turned away, she held a hand out to touch his shoulder. "Jaune…"

"Huh. Yeah?"

She smiled.

"Good luck."


Coco was, despite what some might have thought, not used to consoling a crying girl.

"There, there."

Pyrrha sniffled against her.

The two of them were alone in CFVY's dorm, Yatsuhashi and Fox having taken one look at Pyrrha's face when she knocked on the door and fled like the pansies they were. Oh, they said it was to give Pyrrha space, which it probably was a little, but Coco knew the real reason. Those two couldn't handle emotional people. Yatsu, for all his wisdom and calm, folded in on himself the moment someone looked upset. Fox just froze like a rabbit.

Most of the time, it didn't come up. Velvet lacked confidence, but she wasn't someone who cried. The one time she had, it was because a little bird she and Yatsu had found with an injured wing and tried to nurse to health died. That time, they'd both been in tears hugging onto one another, which left Fox and Coco to watch awkwardly and feel like utter shit.

The only other time someone had cried, it was during movie night when Fox picked the wrong movie and basically fucked them all over. It had been a group crying session, so no one had been in a state to console anyone.

Fox didn't get to pick movies after that.

And now I'm distracting myself, Coco thought, stroking the top of Pyrrha's hair. She's come to you for advice, girl. Do something! Say something!

"So… what brought this on?"

Oh, wonderful, Coco. Real nice.

Luckily, Pyrrha wasn't in the right state of mind to point out how asinine that question was, especially when Coco knew full well what the problem was, having not only heard the news from Velvet, but watched it online. She hadn't expected Pyrrha to be happy about it, but then, she hadn't expected her to be this torn up, either.

"I-I've lost. I kept hiding and delaying and now it's over. H-He's going out with Miltia."

"He's going out on a date with Miltia."

"I-It's the same thing."

It really wasn't, but Pyrrha descended into more tears before Coco could point that out. Coco rocked her a little, thinking how much a shock it was to imagine the normally immovable girl acting like this, and over a boy no less.

No, that wasn't fair. It wasn't that Pyrrha was being weak, just that nothing hurt more than having your hopes dashed, whatever those hopes might be. Someone like Pyrrha could stand up to ten enemies at once and even accept being beaten with a smile on her face. She could shake hands with people who hated her, smile for those who pretended to like her, and other things Coco didn't think she'd be able to.

But no one was immune to hurt. It was just a matter of what it took to pierce your armour. In Pyrrha's case, it was letting someone past her outer shell.

Realistically, Coco knew that she and Velvet had also been allowed in by Pyrrha, and that such a thing marked not only a certain degree of trust, but also responsibility. Coco was used to playing the mother of Team CFVY, dysfunctional family that they were, and while she hadn't asked for another teenage kid, she wasn't going to turn Pyrrha away.

"It's not as bad as you're thinking, Pyrrha. A date is a date. It's not a contract, nor is it marriage – and it's not like marriage lasts forever anyway. They're going out to a club together. If you remember, you've already been to the same club with him once."

"But she told him how she felt," Pyrrha whined. "Miltia told him where I couldn't…"

"Yeah, but no offence, she was always going to beat you to that."

Pyrrha stared up at her, aghast.

"That's not me not having faith in you; it's just knowing her and knowing you. You're pretty much opposites in some ways, even if you share the same colour schemes. She's forward and to the point while you're pretty damn shy. She was always going to tell him before you did. I'm honestly surprised it took her this long."

"S-So, I never had a chance?"

"Pft. Don't be dense." Coco flicked Pyrrha's forehead, hoping to distract her before any more tears could come. "She's asked him out and made out with him. It's not even his first kiss since both she and you have made out with him once before." Pyrrha's face turned bright red. "What I'm trying to say is that just because they're dating, it doesn't mean you don't have a chance."

"Hear me out," she said when Pyrrha made to protest. "You're going to be at Beacon for the next three and a bit years. Jaune probably is, too. More than that, you're both seventeen and this is hi first real relationship. How many times do you think a person stays with the same person they date?"

Pyrrha didn't have an answer. Coco didn't either, not statistics, but she could guess.

"Not many. I'm not saying it's doomed, but people grow up and things change. Dating doesn't mean you're getting married, or even that you're in love. It means you're both open to the idea of testing if a relationship works out. Testing, that's the key word. Think of a date like a spar, except you're flirting instead of fighting."

The metaphor seemed to work for Pyrrha, who probably had more experience in spars than she did genuine social interactions. Proper ones anyway, not the press and fan meetings that Pyrrha had probably forced herself through with a vapid smile on her face.

"Maybe Jaune and Miltia will work out. Maybe they'll get together. Maybe they'll stay together for a couple of months, or a couple of years – or even longer." Coco leaned forward. "But there's just as much a chance they won't. They might break up, argue, or even just decide it doesn't work and part as best friends. What I'm trying to say is that her asking him out isn't the end of the world. Feel crap at her beating you to it, sure, but there's no point thinking the worst just yet."

"But what if he does get on with her?"

Coco sighed. "Then they become boyfriend and girlfriend for a bit. You might have to wait, might have to accept it, but that's up to you to decide. You can hold on and see what happens, date other people or move on. Your call. But none of that is all that important until you see how the date pans out and whether they want to take it further."

Pyrrha sniffed and wiped her nose. She looked terrible. Some people thought crying girls, or crying anyone, looked pretty, but Coco could say with full certainty that such was bullshit. Pyrrha's nose was red, her eyes watery, her hair flat and what little makeup she wore smudged beyond repair. Coco didn't fault her it.

"What am I supposed to do?" Pyrrha asked.

"That depends on you, babe. Do you still want him that way?"

"Y-Yes. I think so." She closed her eyes. "I know it's wrong, especially if Miltia is dating him-"

"It's not wrong. Wrong is you cheating with him and hurting her when she doesn't deserve it. Wrong is you trying to break them up or get her in trouble. Wrong isn't you having emotions, it's in letting them control you and make you do bad shit."

"R-Right. I don't want to stop them."

"Good girl. I knew you wouldn't. So, I guess your best bet is just to wait and see. Be patient, watch, accept that Miltia gets the first shot, but take notes and see what works and what doesn't. In the end, it's not about who gets with someone first, it's about who wins in the long term." Coco laughed. "And who knows, maybe it won't work out and then you'll date him and that won't work out, either. Maybe you and Miltia will get together out of sorrow, start a wild adventure across Vale, adopt fifteen children and retire to a cottage in the wilderness with three hundred cats."

Pyrrha, despite the tears, began to giggle uncontrollably.

"And then I'll have to console him while he weeps on me, before I push him into Russel's waiting arms." Coco sighed theatrically. "Ah, then and only then will my work be done."

Pyrrha continued to laugh for a good minute or two.

Eventually, she stilled. "I'm sorry…"

"What for?"

"F-For this. For coming here and making a mess, crying, being stupid…"

"Don't be an idiot. You're here because you needed someone to talk to. I'm here because you're my friend. Not some pity-case, not some friend of a friend, but my friend. Got it?" When Pyrrha nodded happily, Coco grinned. "Besides, you think this isn't going to happen to me one day? You owe me your shoulder when it does. You've seen how useless Yats and Fox are."

"And Velvet?"

"Pft. Don't even get me started. This isn't a `boys will be boys` thing. Those two may run, but at least they find help. Velvet just freaks out and stands there looking awkward with her ears doing little tricks." Coco mimed a sad-looking flattened-ear motion with one hand. "Seriously. Sometimes it feels like I'm the only one on the team that makes any sense."

"Coco, you have a minigun hidden in your handbag."

"See? Perfect sense!"

She breathed a sigh of relief when Pyrrha laughed again. She'd be okay; she was always going to be okay, but every now and then you needed someone to talk to, if only to point out the things you already knew yourself.

That said, Jaune would be off on his date soon, for better or worse, and Coco didn't like the idea of leaving Pyrrha on her lonesome. She might have made up with her partner, but he'd be busy until late, and she doubted he'd be any more adept at handling a tearful Pyrrha as Yatsu.

"Right, you're staying with us tonight."


"It's Friday. That means it's team movie night, and as an honorary member of the team – or my prisoner, I'll decide which later – you're joining in. Vel will be back later and she's bringing pizza. I'll tell her to add one on for you. Pepperoni?"

"B-But I haven't said yes."

Coco cocked an eyebrow. "Mozzarella?"

"My homework-"

"Look, I won't judge, but if you like ham and pineapple, I'm not sure we can be friends."

Pyrrha stared at the older girl, who looked far too serious about the ridiculous thing she'd just said. With a heavy sigh, Pyrrha brought up her hand to cup her face.

"Pepperoni," she said.

"Aye. That's my girl."


Russel had promised to look after and lock up Jaune's so that night, giving Jaune a chance to retire early and prepare for the first date of his life, necessary since he had to meet Miltia at seven, still three hours before closing time. Being a Friday, neither Russel nor Velvet had any reason to wake up early the next morning, but he'd offered knowing that Velvet had some team-night event thing going on.

Even if there hadn't been time to go shopping, there had been time to order something – and deliveries in Vale were mostly next day so long as you were in the city. With his slowly growing bank balance, he'd been able to get some black jeans, a pair of nice shoes in grey and a blue shirt, casual enough to pass, but fancy enough to look smart.

Miltia hadn't given him any thought on what she'd be wearing, so he hadn't known what to go with. Smart-casual was advised as safe online, and lacking any fashion experience himself, he'd defaulted to what forum posts assured him would work.

Maybe I should have asked mom for advice. No. No way. Someone will have shown her the video by now for sure. There's no way I'm calling her and seeing what she thought of that.

Typically, his mom would love Miltia. Hell, she loved anyone who was on good standing with him or his sisters, and since Miltia clearly wanted to be more than friends, Juniper would love her all the more. Advice like `go the whole way` or `bring her home for me to meet` wasn't going to help tonight, nor was the teasing from his sisters.

He had his scroll switched off for a reason.

Showered, heavily washed and with a faint application of cologne, he was as ready as he was ever going to be. Also as ready as time would allow him to be, it already approaching six-fifteen.

When he made his way downstairs, fully dressed and as ready as he could be, it was to find the entire population of the diner looking his way. Friends, customers, patrons – many of which he knew by name – all leaning out to look, not one pretending to be doing anything else.

His face burned. "I feel like a bride being walked down the aisle here…"

Yang sobbed loudly, also dramatically. "They grow up so fast!"

The dam broke. As he walked through the diner, he was inundated with well-wishes, compliments, calls of "good luck" and everything in between. It was honestly bizarre, and more than a little embarrassing to boot. Everyone was serious though, everyone was genuine, and the sheer force of that cut through, leaving hm humbled and also a little touched.

"Alright, alright," he called, stood at the doors, still blushing badly but with a smile on his face. "Be nice to Russel and Velvet while I'm gone. Don't do anything silly."

"We promise, Dad." Ruby said.

"Use protection!" Nora yelled.

"Nora!" Ren rebuked.

"Sorry. Don't use it if you don't want. Just make an informed decision!"

"That's not what I meant, Nora, and you know it."

Jaune ducked out the diner before the laugher hit, though the closing door didn't mute it entirely. For all that it was a coffee shop, it sounded like a raucous bar. A few pedestrians nearby looked at it with surprise, though they all quickly wised up as they saw the name. They nodded or rolled their eyes and kept walking, paying him no need.

Did he really have a reputation like that, him and the diner? It was odd to think of, but odder still that he'd never really stood outside Jaune's as if he were a customer. From the inside, things were hectic and busy. Outside, it was loud in a muted kind of way, indistinct chatter, conversation and the occasional laugh sounding through the frosted windows. The shapes within were blurred, but it was obviously busy.

It looked… genuine.

It was the only way he could think to describe it. The people inside were genuinely having fun, not just drinking because they were thirsty. Russel and Velvet were genuinely friendly and not putting it on to fulfil some requirement for customer service. Even the coffee was genuine, blended and measured out, brewed in-house and not just coming from some instant brand.

I made this, Jaune realised. I created this.

Not alone. With help from his employees, help from Ruby and help from all his friends – Roman and the twins included. It wouldn't have been possible without all his customers, too. Hell, it wouldn't have been possible without Ruby bumbling into his diner that one night, before he'd even officially opened. She was one of the main people to bring news of the place to Beacon, where it had spread like wildfire. Russel and Velvet wouldn't even be working here if Team RWBY hadn't agreed to put up help wanted posters in the common rooms.

All of this, from what felt like so coincidental a meeting. It was shocking, yet also not. After all, what was life if not a series of coincidences? You meet someone, decide on a whim to talk, and then soon after become best friends.

I only exist because Dad decided to visit a coffee shop, happened to meet Mom and decided to chase after her like a lovesick puppy. Heh. At least he could claim to have done a little better on the dating side himself.

"All you need is confidence, huh? Suck it."

At least Miltia wouldn't be feeling as panicked as he was.



"I'm right behind you, Mil. What's wrong now?"

"I need an intervention."

Melanie thought for a second. "You want me to date your boyfriend?"

"Not that kind of intervention, you idiot. I need help. Advice."

"Why? This isn't your first time going out with someone. Not even your first time if you bring him to bed."

"Shut up!"

"Oh, come on. He's not expecting the vestigial virgin here."

"Still, I'm not talking about past guys with him. Not when they were all just flings. This is the real thing, my first proper date. This is… This is big. This is relationship status big."

"Hm." For all her lack of eloquence with words, Melanie got what her sister meant. They'd both worked in the club long enough to fool around every now and then, sometimes to test the waters, sometimes because they were in the mood or bored. Once or twice, Melanie had even thought someone she'd danced with might be worth pursuing.

They rarely were.

Miltia seemed to think Jaune was, which Melanie found herself both amused and surprised by. She liked him, of course. He was funny and cute, in a puppy way, he made good coffee, didn't stare lecherously at them and could hold a conversation. Sure, he stammered when they teased him, but he had the makings of more.

But she'd have never pinned him as being someone Miltia would fancy. Goes to show you can't judge a book by its cover, even if you've had the book since the day you were born.

Miltia was after Jaune for more than just his body – average at best – or his looks – adequate, but not handsome. It couldn't have been for his wit, flimsy as it was, or his technique. They always said beauty was in the eye of the beholder, and never had Melanie had more proof than now. Still, Miltia was her sister, which meant she'd give this the seriousness it deserved.

"Okay, well, you've already as good as staked your claim on him. Twice now. You've got your date." She hesitated. "Tell me you're not bringing him here."

"Do I look stupid? I've got reservations somewhere."

"Nice." The Club was home, but it was also their place of work. You didn't bring someone you wanted to show a good time to work. "Any plans for after?"

"I was thinking a movie, walk through the park." Miltia looked away, cheeks stained pink. "You know…"

She did, but she'd never thought Miltia would like that kind of stuff. Romantic hand-in-hand moments together, cold night air, leaning in for warmth. It took a force of will not to tease her sister. She would later, of course, but Miltia didn't need it right now.

"I think that's a good idea. Jaune's new, so don't throw him in the deep end. He might like it, but it'll still spook him."

"Yeah, I figured. I- I don't want to scare him off."

Oh, you are just too fucking cute, Melanie thought, watching her normally aggressive sister look down at her feet nervously.

"You won't. Like I said, he knows a little of what to expect from you. He's not going to be scared if you steal a kiss or push a little." Melanie paused and tried to think of more she could offer. Her own experiences were as limited as Miltia's, or rather stacked in the wrong direction. "Actually, I think I might know someone who can help. Stay here."

Five minutes later, Miltia was sat in her underwear atop her bed, legs crossed and looking at the decidedly uncomfortable man sat in front of her.

"You realise," Junior said, trying for gruff and managing a squeak, "That I am your boss, a man, and fifteen years older than you."

Miltia rolled her eyes. "Yeah, duh."

"And that you are in your underwear."

"Eh, you're like family." Miltia stood and turned around, sticking her butt out. "You think this is alright? I mean, I don't know if he'll feel that confident, but I want to say `sexy` without saying `fuck me`. Is it too mu- hey, you're not even fucking looking!"

"For good reason!" Junior cried, fingers over his eyes. "This is workplace harassment."

"Silly Junior, we're hot girls," Melanie pointed out. "We can't harass you."

"You absolutely can and are." The man sighed and lowered his hands. "Look, I agreed to help because despite my best attempts otherwise, the two of you have grown on me."



"Despite so many attempts," he growled. "Ugh. Anyway, I'll offer what help I can, but not until you're wearing some bloody clothing."

"Alright, alright. Keep your panties in a twist." Miltia flounced off the bed and snatched a dressing gown off the back of her wardrobe, pulling it on. "There. I hope your poor, abused eyes are okay."

"They'll live… Can't say the same for my street cred if anyone hears about this."

"Yeah, no one will. Not with what it'd do to mine," Miltia said. "Right. Advice. Okay. Imagine you're a guy going on your first ever date." She paused. "Wait, have you ever been on a date"

"Yes. Many."

"Oh, thank fuck for that. Right, so, first date. With a girl. She's confident, outgoing and super-hot-"

"Modest, too."

"Hey. Story time here. You get a turn to talk after." She glared her boss down. "So, you're on that date and you've gone for a meal, cinema and then a walk. What are you thinking?"

"In general?"

Miltia shrugged.

"Well, if I remember my first date properly, it was something alone the lines of `fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, what do I fucking do`." He hummed into his hand. "Didn't go well. I told a joke and she didn't laugh. Rather than accept it and move on, I tried to tell another."

Melanie winced. "Didn't laugh?"


"You kept trying, didn't you?"

"Oh yeah." Junior had the look of a man who wished to punch his younger self in the face. "Like a fucking failed comedian trying to hold a stand-up comedy night. Great times."

"How does this help?" Miltia demanded, hands on her hips.

"It helps because it's what he'll probably be going through," Junior explained, making Miltia relax. "So, if he stammers or there are any awkward silences, it might be best for you to fill them. Don't take them personally, because chances are it's not him not enjoying himself, it's him not knowing what to say."

It was good advice and made sense. Miltia nodded quickly. "This is good, this is good. What else?"

"Same applies for any moments. If you come onto him, he might flinch or back up. Don't jump to conclusions and think he doesn't like you. Don't get defensive. He might just be nervous or jumpy. Especially toward the end of the night. Take things slow."

Miltia winced. "How slow?"

Junior was about as blunt as a sledgehammer. "You can fuck him if you want, but I'm saying ease him into it. Make it clear beforehand. If you want a kiss, lean in. Don't just go for it or he'll panic. Don't pin him against the floor, either." Junior shot her a knowing look. Miltia shrugged, unphased. "Give him a chance to think and reciprocate next time, because you want it to be two-way. If you give him a sign, he can give you one back. If you just take it, you might make him feel uncomfortable, even if your intent was to try and make him feel better by taking the lead."

She wanted to defend herself, but a look from Melanie said otherwise. Miltia grimaced but took the advice. It was something to keep in mind. She didn't think it would go that far – kissing, yes, hopefully, but not much further. Still, the point remained. "Alright. Anything else?"

"Other than laugh at the poor bastard's jokes, not much." Junior paused to let them finish their laugh. He'd gotten better at that, at least. "You've already got a plan for the evening, so you're not going to fall into the trap of wandering aimlessly with no one knowing what to do. Don't get drunk at wherever you eat, take your time and show him a good night. Make sure he knows you're interested, and if you have fun, make sure he knows that, too. Guys aren't psychic. We'll be worrying whether you're having fun or not. Give him a break and let him know. Or better yet, show him."

"You know, we're not psychic either," Melanie pointed out. "You're probably guilty of half the things you're saying."

"Eh. Never said I wasn't a hypocrite. Besides, if only perfect people could give advice, there'd be no one to give it." He had a point. "Most of it is just talking, which I realise is going to be a leap from what you two normally do in the club since it's so loud. Stick to safe topics."

"Safe topics?"

"You, him, your past, his past, his family, us and the club if you like. Don't talk about stuff like Café Prime, or politics or Grimm."

"Do I look like the kind of person who talks politics?"

"No, but I'm just giving you what I have. Mostly, you want to talk about each other. Get to know one another, and more than just as someone who makes good coffee and a girl who carves people up with her claws."

"And make sure to find out about his past, too," Melanie agreed. "Ask about his parents and stuff. Oh, and take pictures!"



"Why, you want proof I went through and dated him?"

"Ha, cute." Melanie rolled her eyes. "But no. Selfies so that you can pose together, cheek to cheek, body to body. Who even cares about the pictures; you're just doing it to rub up against him, get him in the mood. He'll know the dates going well if you're doing that."

Miltia considered the idea. "That's sneaky. I like it."

"I aim to please, dear sister."

"My work is done, I think." Junior stood with a sigh and made his way towards the door. He paused in it, considering, before he let out a heavy sigh. "And yes, ditch the lingerie. It's too much."

"HA! I knew you looked!"

Junior slammed the door behind him.


Miltia was waiting for him outside the club, even if he was himself fifteen minutes early. A queue had formed despite it not opening for another two hours – people who wanted to get in early and skip the waiting. A few were giving Miltia appraising looks, especially the guys. One or two called out to her, but she ignored them, stood as she was with her arms crossed by an employee-only entrance. Two of Junior's men stood with her.

She hadn't changed her outfit for their date, not that he expected her to. Miltia walked around in a dress as it was and looked fantastic. Her eyes caught his as he called out a greeting. Her lips tugged up. With a slow gait, she pushed off the wall and sauntered towards him, meeting him halfway.

"Hello there, stranger. What brings you here?"

"Um…" Jaune wracked his mind. "A beautiful girl asked me to come?"

"Pfft." Miltia bit her laughter in half and placed a hand over her mouth. She looked away, shaking.

"Too corny?"

"A little. Corny and sweet. That's what you are, though, so I guess I'll just have to get used to it."

She held her hands out, palms upwards. It took him a second to realise what she wanted, and when he did, he swallowed. Even so, he placed both his hands in hers, earning a winning smile. She stepped forward silently and leaned up to plant her lips gently on his.

It was a much sweeter kiss than their first, shorter, too. He wanted more immediately and couldn't shake the heady smell of jasmine and wildflowers.

Some of those in the crowd groaned and mumbled none-too-quietly to themselves. They didn't look pleased to have the well-known hottie from the club be taken, nor for it to be by someone who looked like a nervous wreck.

"Ignore them," she said. "They're jealous. So, you ready to go out?"

"Out? We're not staying here?"

"I work here. I don't want to go on a date here. We've got a reservation downtown, then I thought we could catch a movie."

Nice, simple and in a more private place than he'd hoped. His shoulders relaxed. He'd been worried there would be more dancing, combined with alcohol, loud music and hundreds of jostling bodies. This sounded much better.

"Anything in mind?"

"I thought we'd decide when we get there," she said coquettishly. "Or over dinner." Miltia freed a hand and hooked it around his waist, pushing her hand into his pocket. She tugged the other, hinting without saying.

Nervously, he mimicked their posture, placing his hand on the outer side of her hip.

It felt nice, especially her body warm against his side.

"We'll have fun," she said, sensing his nervousness. It couldn't have been because she was nervous, not with how confident she was. "Meal, a movie and then some time to chat. This time without loud music blaring in our ears. I was serious about what I said before, I want to get to know you. Not just as Jaune, but… you know…"

Even though she trailed off, he thought he did know.

"There's not much to know, but I'll be happy to share. If you do the same."

Miltia grinned and nudged her hip against his.

"You've got yourself a deal, boyfriend."

The title sent a jolt of energy through him. He'd never had it used before, not with reference to him. He wasn't sure Miltia noticed as they walked away, side by side, arm in arm, but he couldn't shake it, nor what it meant for the person attached to his side.

More than that, he couldn't quite shake how much he liked it.

So, Pyrrha's not out of the game – just being forced to face her insecurities and grow as a character. Typically, the more conflict I put a character through, the more important they are to a story. I also don't know why I'm always making Pyrrha and Coco friends. Maybe I just think Pyrrha could use an outgoing and pushy friend to help her come out of her shell.

Maybe Coco is just too awesome to not be a major character. She never gets paired with Jaune in any of my stories. Probably too awesome for it. "Bitch please, pairings can't contain me."

Just as a reminder, due to my week off, the next chapter of this won't come out until the 1st of January. And yes, I know, it's a bit mean to not have the date this chapter, but I wanted to let it wait specifically because I'll be in a more refreshed mood come the new year. A chance to rest, read and recover from all the fatigue. It'll make the chapter better, I hope.

Next Chapter: 1st January

P a treon . com (slash) Coeur