Happy New Year


Cover Art: Jack Wayne

Chapter 36


Miltia had chosen a middle-of-the-range restaurant for them to eat at, something not too fancy but undeniably nice. It was busy, but they had a reservation, which a friendly waiter led them to in the corner, away from most of the other guests. A pair of menus were laid before them and the waiter was sent off to fetch drinks while they looked through them.

"This place is nice," Jaune said, thinking that he ought to say something. This was a date after all.

"Hm. Me and Mel found it a while back. Good food, good atmosphere, and not stuck up or pretentious like some places."

"You come here often?"

She raised a brow at the tacky and stereotypical line, earning a blush from him. "Every now and then. Depends if we have reason to go out. The Club may be work, but we get good food there. Sometimes, it's easier to just let them handle everything."

"I can imagine." It sounded like what he got at his, to be honest. Even if he'd come to smell coffee every single day, he was often so tired from work that he couldn't bring himself to go out and drink anything else, inevitably pouring himself yet another cup after a hard day's work. Miltia probably had it worse, having to work until three or four in the morning. Possibly later. "How did you end up working at Junior's anyway?"

"None of your-" Miltia cut off with a click of teeth, hand covering her lips. Her eyes were wide. "I didn't mean-"

He winced. Nice going, idiot. "Uh. It's fine."

"No, it's…" She sighed and slumped back for a moment, muttering silently to the ceiling. "Look, I like you and everything. I hope I've made that clear. But this," she gestured to the table and restaurant, "despite how I'm trying to make it look, is not something I'm used to. I'm gonna mess shit up."

"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Miltia sighed again. "It's no big secret. Just… people have asked that before and I didn't give a shit enough to tell them. Or they were only pretending to want to know to get in my pants. Automatic answer, you know? I don't mind telling you."

"You sure?" he asked. "I was just making conversation."

She raised an eyebrow. "Do you want to know or not?"

Ugh. Dating was hard. Just make small talk, his father once said, never quite going into specifics on what `small talk` really was. Everyone knew the basics, talk about things you had in common and have a good time. It was just that talking to people was his weakest point. Why did no one ever think to help him on that?

Okay, it was fine. He just had to be natural and honest. Did he want to know how Miltia got her job? Yeah, he kinda did. There was curiosity, but also a genuine desire to know more about the girl he was dating. His girlfriend.

"I do."

"Cool." She grinned. "It's not really all that exciting, to be honest. Still, don't tell Melanie I told you."

"Promise."

"Right. So, you probably figured it out from the lack of any parents that Mel and I were orphans. No idea how that happened since neither of us remember ever having a family." Miltia said it in so casual a manner that he knew it didn't bother her as much as it ought to have. "First thing we really remember is looking after one another, first in the orphanage, then on the street when we escaped."

"You ran away from an orphanage?" he asked. "Why? Were they cruel?"

"Not really… just…" Her cheeks heated up a little. "They were nice. Real good people looking back, but they warned us that we might have to be split up. Not many people want to adopt two kids at once, let alone twins. They were just tryin' to be nice and let us know ahead of time, but we were already linked at the hip back then. No way we was lettin' that happen." She laughed. "And you know, to kids not ten years old, you don't think of how hard things would be outside. You think you know best. We up and split without really planning further."

Jaune bit back on the sympathy he felt, knowing it was the last thing Miltia wanted, and definitely not needed. She was fine now, and more than able to look back and laugh on the past. At the end of the day, it was just that. "You obviously managed it on the streets, though."

"Damn right!" Miltia pulled an arrogant pose. "Did you think any less?"

"Not at all. I pity the poor bastards who tried to mistreat you."

She laughed. "Yeah, they learned not to soon enough. We were vicious. Running from the police trying to arrest and take us back to an orphanage, fighting other street kids for scraps of food. It was tough, but we had each other and that was all that mattered. Cut a long story short, we tried to eke out our own little territory but ran afoul of a bigger fish. Not just a street rat, but an actual crime boss. Real piece of work. The worst of scum. Name was King."

"King?"

"Or it was his title, the arrogant prick. Didn't matter to him that we were just little girls, we'd tried to `intrude on his territory` and he wanted to make an example of us."

Jaune's hands clenched into fists. He wasn't sure he wanted to know, but he had to have the answer, if only to calm himself down. "What did he do…?"

"Nothing."

"Nothing!?"

Miltia grinned. "Nothing. He tried to, wanted to, but his son had been organising a takeover in the background the whole time. Killed and supplanted him before he could do anything to us two. Took over, disbanded most of King's men and went small-time crook, gang leader and information broker. Opened a Club, too."

"Junior!?"

"Yep. The old man saved our lives, or our bodies. After that, well, we didn't really have anywhere to go. Junior said he felt responsible for us and offered us spots in his gang. Mel and I were shaken enough after what happened to accept. Junior's a softie though, even if he won't admit it. He got us training, weapons, clothes, a place to stay. I think he was just trying to say sorry for what his father did, but by the time we were teenagers, he'd pretty much bought our loyalty. The rest is history."

"That's… wow."

"What about you? I know you came to attend Beacon and didn't make it. What's life back home like?"

"A lot more less interesting than yours. I'm not sure you'd find it interesting…" He didn't have any stories of a difficult past, any challenges he'd worked his way through or anything like that. He'd lived a perfectly mundane life, a blessed one if Miltia's was anything to go by. "I think you'd find hearing about it boring."

"Jaune, I've lived through my `exciting life` already. Stories about parents, family and normal people life? That's anything but boring to me."

Surprise, sympathy and also a little shame worked its way through him. Of course it would be new to her. How arrogant of him to think otherwise. Or just downright shameful, bemoaning the boredom of an easy life to someone who'd been through hell.

"Well, you've told me about your sister. Let me tell you about mine…"

He talked for what felt like ages, long after his mouth began to feel dry. He told her about their trips to the lake, the things they'd get up to, and how downright cruel some of his sister's pranks could be, yet how quickly they'd jump to his defence if anyone tried to threaten him. Multiple times in the telling he wondered if he wasn't speaking too much. Was he monopolising the conversation? Was he babbling? Miltia's light laughter kept him going. Her smile prevented him from stopping, at least until the food arrived.

As was perhaps usual for him, the two of them found common ground in the most random – and what had once been the most painful – of things; his failure to make it into Beacon. It was further into dinner, after dining on some frankly fantastic steak, that Miltia brought up the fact that she too had failed to get in.

"What? But you're so strong!"

"Not strong enough," she admitted easily, "Or just not smart enough. Even if you're good, coming from a school like Signal or one from another Kingdom helps grease the wheels. That blonde bi- friend of yours," she amended, referring to Yang, "-was able to beat both Mel and I at once. That's the level of a Beacon student. You and me? We may be worlds apart in terms of skill, but we're both too weak to go there."

"I never really stood a chance, did I?"

"To be fair, you went in not even knowing what aura was." Miltia smiled as she teased him. "I mean, that's like trying to become a doctor by turning up at a hospital with a pack of plasters. In the end, it's probably a good thing they refused you."

"Because I'd have died if I went?" he asked.

"Because we might not have met."

With red rising to his cheeks, he looked away, blushing all the harder when his date laughed knowingly. This definitely felt backwards to what his mom always said to do, compliment his date and make them feel special. It felt like he had the wrong end of the stick in the relationship, though maybe that was to be expected. Miltia Malachite wasn't one to be demure or submissive, and he definitely didn't have the makings of dominance.

"Too sweet for you?" she teased, and he knew she meant more than just the dessert.

"Just wasn't ready for it."

"That means I'm doing a good job. Maybe there are other ways I can surprise you."

He was about to ask what she meant when he felt a foot run up the inside of his shin, making him stiffen in shock. He gasped and glanced to Miltia, only to find her paying extreme attention to a spoon she was licking some chocolate sauce from.

The foot ran higher, teasing his thigh as her eyes locked to his. She ran her tongue up the spoon slowly, kissing the tip and sucking some chocolate off with a wet `popping` sound.

Blood ran to Jaune's face. And somewhere a little lower.

He refused to show his frustration when her foot drew back, leaving him flustered and wanting. She placed the spoon down beside the empty plate, leaned her chin on one hand and smiled his way. "Hm? Something you wanted to say, lover?"

"You're evil…"

"Maybe. Are you going to do something about it? Punish me?"

A more confident man might have responded in the positive or responded at all and brought the night to a climactic end then and there. Jaune wanted to. He saw the hint. But his nerves betrayed him at the last second and he looked away.

Miltia's smile was languid. "Maybe later then."

/-/

She tried to keep the smug grin off her face, she really did. No one liked a cocky person, let alone a cocky date, but there was no hiding her satisfaction at getting a reaction out of him. Every gasp, every flash of colour, every involuntary sound he made, they were all confirmation that she had an affect on him. Every single one told her in no uncertain terms that he liked what she was doing, that he liked her.

It was intoxicating.

It was also worrying. I never doubted myself before. Why am I so unconfident now? I'm hot, everyone says that. I shouldn't need his reaction to know that.

Something about Jaune stole that confidence away, which she could understand if he was a player or at least as forward as she. When power was stolen away, you were left on weaker ground. Some people liked that. Miltia didn't care either way. But at least if that had been the case, the lack of confidence would have made sense. As it was, she was nervous for what felt like no reason.

He's putty in my hands. I've got this.

"What kind of movie do you want to see?" Jaune asked.

"Whatever you want to see," she replied automatically. No wait, shit. What if he picks a sappy romance? Argh. "Or, you know, maybe we can see whatever the big thing is at the moment. You like action or comedy?"

"Either."

"Great," Miltia said, cringing a little. She liked neither, or rather, she didn't much mind comedy but didn't want Jaune to be focusing on the jokes on a screen when she was there. "Tell you what, why don't you get us some drinks and popcorn while I grab tickets? I'll see what's on." And pick something more to her liking, of course.

Jaune just looked pleased to have a chance to actually pay for something, seeing as how she'd covered dinner. "Sure!"

Miltia let out a quick breath of relief. Crisis averted. The only reason she'd insisted on paying for dinner was because she knew that, making money or not, Jaune was still in the infancy of running his business. On the other hand, her job was secure, and it wasn't like she spent much of it. She lived at the Club, so most of her living expenses were covered.

And that marks the first time I've ever not let a guy pay for me. Normally, I'd fleece them for anything they're willing to give.

The cinema had a number of counters for buying tickets, with a big electronic board behind showing what movies were on, when, and a few trailers running silently. True to form, there was a range of genres, with the obligatory sappy romance which was going to be skipped hard. Nothing made a date feel forced or awkward like sitting still for two hours watching other people get it on. Even less so since this looked to be some movie about a huntsman saving a helpless princess. The dynamic couldn't have been more reversed for her and Jaune.

In the end, she chose something forgettable – a Spruce Willis movie no doubt filled with explosions, gunfire and more one-liners than you could shake a stick at.

Perfect for her purposes.

Less perfect was the asshole she found blocking her path. Pale green hair, dark skin and a wide, handsome smile.

"Shit, Miltia? It is you!"

"Mint." She tried to keep the irritation out of her voice. "Hey."

"Hey? Is that what you say when you've not seen me for months? That's harsh."

"Harsh would be me cutting your fingers off for what you tried with Melanie, Mint. Ignoring you is a mercy." One she was already beginning to regret. She looked for Jaune quickly, breathing a sigh of relief when she found him still ordering them some food. "Look, I'm kind of busy here, so how about we say `hi` and move on, yeah?"

"Busy?" Mint looked around theatrically, as if to draw attention to the lack of company. "I don't see anyone."

"Wow, you have eyes. And I couldn't possibly be more than three feet away from the people I came with. Amazing deduction." Jaune was finishing up, which meant she needed to as well. "Nice to see you and all, Mint, but I've got to go. See you around. Or not." She pushed past before he could open his mouth and pulled her shoulder away before he could grab it.

Jaune had only just turned in her direction when she hooked her arm into his and flashed the tickets in his face, stealing his attention away from anything else. She nabbed some popcorn while she was at it and poked a kernel against his lips. "Hey lover. You ready?"

"Mrfl," he said, accepting and then swallowing. A woman nearby with her own date giggled at the sight. Miltia winked back. "I-I'm ready," Jaune said. "Were you talking with someone?"

"Just someone who wanted the time. Let's go grab some seats before they fill up."

The crowds of people hid their entry into the hallways connecting the various theatre rooms, each one with a number over the top and someone in front to check tickets. Miltia flashed theirs and got a nod from the bouncer who didn't look nearly as intimidating or trained as their own. Not having to deal with drunks probably made the job easier.

If Jaune wondered why she was so insistent to get them in the dark and seated against a wall – far away from the entrance and with Jaune squashed between her and the wall itself – he didn't ask. She looked back anyway, just in case, but it was dark enough that she couldn't see the entrance, which meant no one could make her out. When some random stranger sat on her right with his friend, she stopped worrying.

"You okay?" Jaune asked.

"Hm? Yeah, I'm fine."

"You look bothered."

Uh-oh, he'd noticed. Innocent as he could be, an idiot he was not. Time to deflect. "Hot and bothered?"

"N-No."

"Just hot then?"

"Ugh. You're impossible."

"I am. And don't you forget it."

The distraction worked as intended, causing him to look away and grumble about her teasing him. She laughed back and flicked a kernel of popcorn at his face, only to be surprised when he caught it between his teeth and munched on it.

"Movie night with my sisters. You learn a few tricks against popcorn attack."

Miltia snorted. "My hero."

The lights dimmed soon after as the curtains drew back and the pre-movie adverts began to play. Miltia sat back and watched, letting some trailers pass by and even the first ten to fifteen minutes of the movie, just enough to let Jaune and everyone else get into it and stop paying attention. When she was sure he was engrossed, she shot him a look from the corner of one eye, watching the lights from the cinema screen dance across his face. She bit her lip, eyes sparkling mischievously.

Silly man, not paying attention to his date.

That wasn't allowed.

Jaune had the bucket of popcorn in his lap so that she didn't have to hold it. Keeping her eyes on the screen and some stupid gunfight between one man and twenty others who couldn't aim, she reached to grab a handful, messily running her fingers through the bucket, causing a few to fall out onto his stomach and lap.

"Sorry," she whispered.

"It's okay."

He went back to the action, looking up with an awed expression. It flicked back down when she reached over again, but this time picked a loose piece of popcorn off his shirt, popping it in her mouth. When it was clear what she was doing, he ignored it and went back to the movie.

Miltia picked at the popcorn she'd spilled on him, slowly working lower and lower. He started to shift in his seat, no doubt feeling what she was doing and subtly excited. He pretended not to, of course, afraid to call attention to it and make her stop.

Hm. Adorable.

He jumped in his seat when her fingers brushed against his thigh. His eyes darted to hers, but the moment she saw them move, she looked back to the screen, feigning interest as she brought her hand back and nibbled on the treat she'd stolen from his lap.

When he went back to the movie, she went in again, this time making sure to not find anything on her first try and pay around inquisitively. Jaune swallowed, the sound audible even with the action on the screen, which she knew he wasn't paying attention to anymore. His breathing was just a little too heavy, though her actions were thankfully masked from those around. When the palm of her hand brushed against something hard, her eyes widened.

Oh my. Is this for me?

Jaune's hand snatched onto hers immediately, speed granted by the surprise and lust he was no doubt feeling. She wondered if he'd excuse himself to go to the bathroom. If he did, she could follow him and surprise him.

Instead, it was he who surprised her, linking their hands together so that they were palm to palm, their fingers intertwined. He let it rest in his lap and did nothing more.

Seriously? Holding hands?

You're killing me here, Jaune. Take a hint, please…

She tried to break free, but his grip was just a little too strong, a little too warm. His thumb began to rub against the back of her hand, running soft, warm circles on her skin. It was a surprisingly nice feeling, if a little – okay, a lot – less than she'd been aiming for.

Maybe this was okay.

Miltia sat back and watched the rest of the movie with a smile on her face.

/-/

"That was pretty good."

"Hm," Miltia agreed, not quite meaning the movie. The two of them were still hand in hand, since she hadn't seen fit to let go and used the idea of not getting lost in the crowd of people leaving as an excuse to keep it so. "Better than I expected," she said, being completely honest, if not about the movie. "I had fun."

Jaune looked inordinately proud of that, like a puppy that had just been praised. "Yeah? Me too."

She grinned back. "Good. I-"

"Miltia!"

Oh, for fuck's sake. There outside the cinema, leaning against the wall, was the dark-skinned, green-haired idiot she was sure she'd gotten rid of before. Had he really stood there through the entire movie? It seemed possible.

"Mint…"

"Hey," Mint pushed off the wall and strolled up, eyes flicking to Jaune inquisitively. "You ran off earlier, and before we even had time to talk."

"Most would take that as a sign…"

"Ha. You're always so funny." The taller man held a hand out for Jaune and smiled handsomely. "Hey there, nice to meet you. Name's Mint."

"Jaune," her date replied, shaking it. Miltia felt sick to her stomach; this was the last thing she wanted right now, not with everything going so well. "You know Miltia. Do you work at the Club with her?"

"Nah." Mint laughed and grinned. "I'm her boyfriend."

Jaune's mouth opened.

"Ex-boyfriend," Miltia snapped, interrupting, and explaining for Jaune's benefit. She gripped his hand tightly, trying to convey her feelings. "We broke up months back."

"Sorry, sorry. Ex. Sometimes I forget. It gets pretty hard to remember at times, considering how quickly guys come and go with you. She's picky," he stage-whispered to Jaune. "Then again, she gets her pick of most of the guys considering her looks. She's hot, yeah?"

"I guess," Jaune said uncomfortably.

Oh geez. This was the ex-conversation she'd never wanted to have, not because of any significant drama, but because no guy was okay with hearing about how the person they were with had been with other guys before. It was the kind of silent agreement brought up when you started dating, that you'd both pretend such shit hadn't happened. She'd thought it might come up at some point, but certainly not so early, and not by having the two of them face to face.

"Mint, seriously, Jaune and I are on a date right now. Can we do this another time?"

"Movie, huh? We used to go on movies a lot. Miltia always liked her little games. You're a lucky guy."

"I'm aware of that."

"You gone the whole way yet?"

"Mint!" she hissed.

"What? Oh, come on. It's not like you're too much a prude to talk about shit like this. I'll take that as a no, though. Well, I'm sure that'll change. She's never been one for wasting time. And trust me," he said, winking Jaune's way. "She's worth it. You and I aren't the only guys to know that."

Anger blossomed within her. That rat-bastard was trying to fuck everything up for her, and for no other reason than he was a bitter ass for being dumped. Well, fuck it. He wanted her angry, he'd got it. She'd just about brought a set of claws out – much to Mint's dawning horror – when Jaune opened his mouth.

"I am a lucky guy, especially that Miltia wants to be with me. I think you were lucky to have a chance with her as well, and I'm sorry it didn't work out for you."

Mint and Miltia froze. "What?" Mint asked.

"I mean, you're obviously still into her if you wanted to come over and talk. I'm sorry, but we're dating now. You had your chance."

Mint's face flushed bright red. "You - You what? That's not what I'm saying."

"I know what you're saying," Jaune said. "You're saying there were people before me."

"Exactly. She's no innocent angel, man. She's been around, and I mean around. Every night at the Club she takes a pick. The lucky ones get a night. The unlucky ones get their hearts played with." Mint's words caused Miltia to grit her teeth. "You want me advice, buddy, I'd-"

"Thanks, but I don't need your advice."

"Excuse me?"

"I said I don't need your advice."

"You fucking idiot. You've no idea what you're getting into, do you?"

"No," Jaune admitted, "But I'm excited to find out. And I'd rather find out from Miltia." His hand tightened around hers, his eyes meeting her own. "So, yeah, thanks for the advice but I'm okay. I kind of want to be the one she chooses to stay with anyway, so advice from someone who wasn't good enough to meet her standards wouldn't help me much."

Miltia laughed. She laughed out loud.

"You son of a…" Mint bit his words off with a growl. "Fine. I was just trying to be helpful, offer a fellow some advice, save him the heartbreak. Guess I'm talking to a brick wall. Just remember, whatever you think you have, someone else had it first." Mint turned away, though not without a parting shot. "Enjoy your sloppy seconds."

"You fucking-" Miltia's attack was halted by Jaune wrapping his arm around her shoulder. He held her back, letting Mint storm away. Miltia hissed through her teeth. "Why? He's a douche. Let me show him what he gets for saying shit like that!"

"And let him ruin our date?" Jaune smiled weakly. "Don't give him the satisfaction."

Fuck. That did it for her and she looked away, growling. Gods, she wanted nothing more than to pound that ass into the ground, but Jaune had a point. It would just be her paying more attention to Mint than he deserved. Of course, that still left the Goliath in the room, looming over their relationship.

"About what he said…" she began, biting her lip.

"It doesn't matter."

"You sure? He wasn't lying."

He looked worried for a moment. "About you leading me on?"

"What? No, no, no. I'm serious. I wouldn't have hunted you down like a stag if I wasn't." And hell, this was the first time a guy had ever made her go out her way for him. "Just… the other part. There have been other guys before you." Miltia swallowed nervously. "A couple of guys." A pause. "More than a couple." She sighed. "Quite a lot, actually…"

"I… I kind of guessed."

"Oh." It came out glumly, more a defeated noise than anything as her stomach dropped. He'd guessed? She wasn't sure what to make of that, other than that she came across as someone who slept around.

Which she was, or had been, but still…

"I mean, you're so confident and outgoing and you work at a nightclub. I may be new to all this, but I'm not an idiot. I saw my sisters with guys, and even with girls in one case. That was kind of hard for me to deal with as well."

"I think this is a little different," she grumbled. "I'm not trying to be your sister."

"No, but it means I have a better understanding of those things." He grinned. "Or at least I hope I do. I've seen my sisters break up with guys and get with other guys. I've seen them happy, sad, heartbroken and happy again when they found someone new. Dating, having exes. It's normal. But I've also seen Saph finally find the right person for her, even after a couple of failed relationships. It didn't bother her partner that she'd been with other people before. I don't see why this should bother me."

"Most guys would be angry."

"I am angry, but mostly at what he said about you." Jaune glared the way Mint had gone, surprising her with the intensity of his anger. It vanished a second later. "But most of all, I guess I'm relieved."

She stared at him. "Eh?"

"He was handsome, confident and a whole lot more experienced than me. Kind of my opposite. I'd have been more nervous if he was just like me and you dumped him anyway."

Miltia shook her head, shocked, but also vaguely aware that she shouldn't be. Maybe the problem wasn't so much with guys in general but, as Jaune said, her choice in them. Or her previous choices. There were tens of thousands of married couples out there and she doubted all of them had stayed virginal until marriage. Even so, she had to be sure.

"Then you don't mind me being sloppy se-"

"Don't say that."

She shrugged. "It's kind of true."

"It's not about who or how many people a girl has been with. The real winner isn't the one who got to be the first, it's about who she chooses to keep at the end of it."

Miltia didn't care about the people watching. She gripped Jaune by the collar and dragged him down, wrapping her free arm around his neck. Gawky and uncoordinated, he returned the kiss with more passion than skill. He'd need to improve on that. She'd teach him how to. She had time.

After all, she was going to be keeping him around.

/-/

A dinner she paid for, a cinema she took him to and now it was Miltia who was walking him home, dropping him back off at the diner – and frankly, why not? If anyone was going to be successfully mugged tonight it was going to be him.

"You're sure I can't get you a taxi back?"

"Not sure I'll need one."

"It's not a short walk to the Club."

Miltia looked at him askance for a moment before laughing. "You're so innocent. It's adorable."

The diner's lights were still on, though dim. Russel had locked up as promised and left the lights dimmed to help him find his way around. It looked like all the seats were up on the tables and the floor freshly cleaned. Great since he definitely wasn't in the mood to do housework after a night like this. Russel and Velvet were lifesavers.

"Well, this is it," he said nervously, turning to Miltia. He wasn't so dense that he didn't know how a first date was supposed to end, at least if it had gone well.

Work up the courage, he told himself. Just kiss her. Hold her shoulders, lean in and-

Miltia gripped him by the collar and dragged him down. Her lips were on his before he could think, her tongue pushing past to wrestle, dominate and then pin his down. His back touched the wall beside his door, pinning him against it despite him being the larger of the two. She was merciless in her assault.

Experienced, too. It was the only thing he could dumbly notice as she played with him, toyed with him, pulled down his self-control like it was the flimsiest wall in existence. Her warm hands were under his shirt, playing with his chest, dragging her fingers down his skin. They continued their path down, teasing the hem of his trousers.

His eyes snapped open and he pulled back. "Wait, wait, wait!"

Miltia smiled coyly. She had one leg between his, her knee brushing up against his thigh. Her eyes were hazy, her lips swollen. "Hm?"

"W-What are we doing?"

"I thought that was obvious," she said, rubbing her knee a little higher. "Aren't you going to invite me inside for some coffee?"

"N-Now?"

"Sure. I like mind blonde, undressed and writhing in ecstasy."

It clicked. He wasn't sure why it took so long. The reason why she wouldn't need an escort back, the reason a taxi wasn't required. She didn't intend to go home tonight, which meant… which meant. Jaune's entire body trembled.

"Hope I'm not being too subtle for you again," she said, closing in. Her hands stroked his side, fingers teasing under his shirt. Gripping the material tight, she brought him in for another scorching kiss, burning an imprint of her lips into his. "So, you going to invite me in, or are we going to do it out here where anyone can see?" She nipped at his neck. "I don't mind either way."

"No!"

"No?" She chuckled against his neck. "Want to keep me all for yourself? That's fine with me."

"I mean no. Not this." He pushed her back.

"What?" Miltia looked hurt for a second, and then angry. "Why the hell not?"

"It-It's the first date."

"So? Oh, for fucks sake, let me guess. I want to take it further on the first date, so I'm some kind of slut. Is that it?"

"That's not it!"

"Then what is it!?"

"I-" Gods, she looked so angry, and he felt so stupid. He wasn't even sure what he was doing. Jaune blurted the first thing to come to mind. "I want to buy you flowers."

Miltia stared at him, mouth open. "What?"

"I-I want to buy you flowers," he repeated. "I want to surprise you. I want to ask you out. I want us to spend time together, hold hands, lean on one another. I want to do all the little things in between with you and not just… this. M-Maybe it's stupid, but I don't want to skip a single thing. I want every little thing. And when this happens, I want it to be special. Not-" His words were cut off as Miltia leapt up and smothered his mouth with hers, tackling him to the floor.

It was a fearsome make out session, reminiscent of the time she pinned him to the floor of the diner in plain view of everyone. When she broke off, her face was red, and her breasts rose and fell as she panted.

"You… You're some kind of idiot."

"I know, but-"

"But you know the right things to say."

He froze. "I do?"

"Somehow." Miltia kissed him again. Softer, more intimately. It lacked the explosive passion of the last but was somehow all the more exhilarating, perhaps because it showed a softer side, he wasn't sure ever existed with her. When she finished, she leaned down to whisper into his ear. "I'll be waiting for those flowers."

He stared up at her woodenly as she clambered off him. He missed her warm weight instantly, and a particular part of his body standing at attention missed it more than anything else.

With a flick of her hair, she shot him a coy look over one shoulder. "And I guess I'll be waiting for my blonde coffee, too. Don't make me wait too long, though. You wouldn't like me when I get impatient."

Her eyes trailed down to the tent in his crotch.

"Or maybe you will…"

The click-click of her heels echoed as she walked away, swinging her hips the entire time. Jaune's eyes remained locked to them and her, the feeling he'd made a terrible – stupid – mistake raging through him. His body certainly felt so as hormones and frustration crashed over him like a tidal wave.

"I'm some kind of idiot, aren't I?"

"Conventional wisdom would say so, kid," a cocky voice called. "Then again, maybe you're a romantic idiot because I've not seen her smile like that before."

Jaune groaned, somehow not even surprised. "Roman. Please tell me you weren't following us…"

"Oh yeah, sure, because I have nothing better to do with my time than stalk a pair of horny teens on their first date. Glad to see you think so much of me." Roman nudged Jaune's shoulder with his foot. "But no, I didn't come here to chaperone you, nor to play wingman."

"What, then?"

"Came to talk."

"Can't it wait until tomorrow? I'm not in the mood right now."

"Beating one out in the shower can wait," Roman said crudely, making Jaune stammer a denial. "This can't. Especially with what's going down tomorrow night."

"Tomorrow? You mean the meeting between you and Cinder?"

"Yeah." Roman sighed heavily, removed his bowler hat and ran a hand through his hair. "Can we do this inside? I've some heavy shit to tell you and I think you're going to want to sit down for it." It was the sheer contrition on his face that stilled Jaune's heart. He'd never seen the man like this. Never thought it was possible.

"Let's talk inside."


Ah Jaune. Innocent until the last. I did actually date a really dominant woman once. Not in that she intended to be, but that she did it without thinking. She told me a lot of people she went out with hated that because it changed the power dynamic in a way they didn't like.

I thought it was hot as hell. Actually being pushed up against a wall and made out with by a girl who only reaches up to your shoulder is a surprisingly shocking and awesome feeling. I remember it was at the union (in university) and my friend was like "You're bigger than her. You could have turned that around."

And I was just "Uh. Why would I want to turn that around!?"


Next Chapter: 15th January

P a treon . com (slash) Coeur