Disclaimer: I do not own Gundam Wing
AN: Don't tell me you didn't see this coming...remember to review...or more likely flame-.-
Chatper 7: Nightcap
"What! You're not coming?"
Relena's outraged voice ran clear through the reciever, making Hilde cringed with guilt.
"Relena, I'm so sorry. I completely forgot today was my anniversery with Duo."
"Anniversary of what?"
"When we first met."
Somewhere downtown in a high-class but quiet bar, Relena held her cell phone to her ear, her eyes widening at Hilde's answer.
"Who actually remembers that kind of thing?"
"Apparently Duo. I always tell you and Cath that he's a closet romantic." Hilde sat in her bathrobe at her dresser, with the reciever clamped between her ear and shoulder while with great skill, applied the last of her makeup. "Of course, you guys just never believe me." With her hands finally free, she took hold of the reciever again. "And what about you? You remember when you and Heero first met."
Relena half-spun in her stool at the bar. "Well, yeah, but it helps when that date is listed in every single history textbook. For Heaven's sake, they do a News Special on it ever year."
She heard Hilde sigh.
"Listen, Rel, I really am sorry. But I come home and he jumps out of nowhere saying he's made reservations and everything."
"Aww, that's soo sweet," Relena cooed in an overdone sweet voice. "What after dinner? He'll throw a duffle bag at your head and then you'll challenge him to a mobile suite battle?"
Hilde rolled her eyes. "No, we did that last year, dum dum," she retorted. "By the way, have I ever commented on how not funny you are?"
"I am funny," Relena jokingly pouted into the phone. "You're just spoiled by being around Duo."
Relena whole-heartedly chuckled into the phone, her built up tension from the long day releasing itself out of her body.
"I'm sorry," she apologized, slightly groaning. "Its been such a long day. I've been up since five in the morning and barely ate all day. I just wanted to see a friendly face."
A delicate smell of jasmine met Hilde's nose as she spread her favourite lotion on her hands and arms; her right ear and shoulder expertedly held the reciever again.
"Well, didn't you see Quatre today?"
"Yeah but he and I somewhat got into a fight."
Hilde paused momentarily at her friend's words.
"Are you guys alright" she asked, concerned.
Relena slipped her fingers along the smooth cool surface of her wine glass, absently admiring the simple elegance of its craftsmenship.
"Yeah, we're alright. Just a slight disagreement on some contracts. We just need time to cool off that's all."
"Alright, then," Hilde said. "Listen, I promise I'll make this up to you, okay? I really wanted to go out tonight."
Relena smiled. "I know."
"Hey, maybe Duo and I can stop by at the bar."
Relena was the one feeling guilty now. Why was she still so childish sometimes?
"No, no. Its your night with him. You two have a wonderful time. Don't worry about me one bit-and congratuations!"
Hilde smiled into the phone. "Thank you. I will."
Relena beamed. "Send my love to Duo."
"Will do. Bye."
Slapping her cellphone shut, she picked up her drink and downed the last of her red wine.
Placing the delicate glass down again she stared at her closed cell phone on the smoothe wood surface. She contemplated calling Quatre out but then she remembered what she had just told Hilde. It would be better to leave him off until tomorrow. She was still very frustrated from the day's events and she wouldn't be surprise if Quatre was too.
She ventured calling Catherine but the idea quickly dropped, knowing she was probably on a date or studying under her brother's totalitarian guidance. If it was the latter, there was no way Trowa would let her off the hook. Poor Cathy.
On the ther hand, if she was on a date, she was definitely having more fun than Relena.
Relena sadly stared down at the bottom of her empty glass. Around her, the bar was buzzing with life and enthusiasm. All around her were girlfriends laughing over their drinks, gossipng about their daily lives while distinguished looking elders talked about their old days in college over a nightcap. And worse, were couples, upon couples, upon couples, each more happier looking than the next. Relena wondered if they were all in on a conspiracy for mocking her.
Trying to distract herself, she slowly twirled her empty glass around by its slim neck. She contemplated on whether she should order another glass for herself. She had a little over an hour and half before she needed to get home in order to get a good decent sleep. Then again, if she went home now, she'd get an extra hour of rest. She might even be able to watch a movie with Noin.
Something in the long mirror that hung across from her behind the bar caught her attention. A man and woman in their early thirties now sat cuddled close to each other in their booth. Relena had somewhat been keeping an eye on them ever since she arrived-they reminded her of Milliardo and Noin. She watched as the woman drapped an arm across her lover's stomach while the man brushed his cheek agains the woman's soft hair, taking a deep breath of her scent, looking as if they were anywhere but here.
Relena's gaze dropped back down to the bottom of her glass.
Oh, yeah. She definitely needed another drink.
Leaning slightly foreward on her elbows, turning her head to the right where she spotted the young man who first served her, she called, "Can you give me another glass of wine?"
Her head snapped up at the voice, a question embedding itself between her eyebrows and forming out of her mouth: "What?"
The bartender approached her, the familiar dark green bottle in his hand. Situating the small opening of the bottle to the rim of her glass, it made a light clink before the bittersweet liquid poured into the miniture bowl.
"Please" the low voice repeated. "Can you give me another glass of win, please."
With her glass filled and the bottle upright in the man's hand again, her gaze only became more incredulous. "Excuse me, are you allowed to talk to me like that?"
The stranger set the bottle down on the counter.
"I would hope so." His hands braced themselves against the counter. "I'm the owner" he finished between a smile and a smirk.
Relena for once didn't know how to respond and through her bewilderment, decided just to dismiss his rudeness. Placing the rim of the wine glass to her lips again, she took three delicate but thorough swallows.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa.."
She pulled the drink away from her lips to blurt out, "What"
"You're abusing it."
Her eye went from the drink in her hand back to the bartender. "The drink?"
He nodded. "Yes. Listen, its too good of a wine to be chugged down like it was a beer at a frat party."
Relena's eyes closed, only to reopen to nearly twice its size.
"Drink it slowly," he continued. Let it settle in your mouth...savour it." His instructive gaze was unusually attentative on her own, making a warmth rush to her cheeks.
However, it took no time for a irritated frown to make its present on its face. The base of the wine glass met the surface of the counter almost too hardly. "I'm aware of how to drink wine, sir" she began, keeping her voice firm but calm voice. "And I really don't care if you're the owner of this bar. I would really appreciate it if I were left alone." Plucking her drink off its place, she turn in her stool to walk off.
"That's not what I overheard."
She swiveled back in her seat, her eyes stretching wide. She could hardly get her words out. "Y-you were listening to my call?"
"Overheard" the rude man corrected. "There's a difference."
Relena felt her jaw tightened. "Excuse me, I-"
She stopped when he held up his hand, his expression turning apologetic. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so rude-I was only joking about the chugging. Its just that you said you wanted to see a friendly face, and I thought mine would do."
Relena felt the charm in his voice wash away her frown but she still kept her game face on.
"How about this: to make it up to you, your drinks will be on the house and I'll keep you company."
Relena blinked awkardly, caught back by the sudden invitation. "Um, that's alright."
"You look lonely."
Her eyes grew defiant but non-threatening. "I don't not need your ptiy."
"No, you don't. You want company."
His words came out with a tilt of his head, making Relena notice how the tips of his thick black hair carassed the creamy skin at the side of his neck.
Relena looked up at his eyes, catching a sense of deja vu. Unbeknownst to her, the colour of his eyes would later have her pondering on whether they were more blue or grey.
The leftover taste of the wine on her tongue suddenly became overwhelming and she quickly swallowed in what hopefully was a a inconspicuous way. She leaned back, her eyes never leaving the stranger's and said in a voice half-filled with curiosity and amusement, "You're a strange one."
And then she thought, Oh, you should talk.
One side of his smile grew, his eyes lighting up. "I get that compliment a lot." A dishrag appeared in one oh his hands and he flipped it over his shoulder. "Listen, your drinks are still on the house. If you happen to change your mind, I'll be around" he said, his smugness replaced by sincere kindness. With that, he made his way along the length of the counter and walked out to greet his other customers. Somehow, she was tempted to look back at him but quickly dismissed the feeling. As she sipped her wine, she caught short glimpses of the man making his rounds through his customers. She was surprised at his sincerity towards them and how the customers responded back with as much sincerity and enthusiasm. As she watched him, she noticed that he was a little older than she was, possibly the around the same age as Milliardo. The man wore the standard white dress shirt and black trousers with a white apron tied around his lean waist.
Right now, he was associating with two attractive brunettes, the girls more than enjoying themselves. Watching them, Relena felt a tinge of envy sprouted, mixing in with her solitude. Her eyes lingered on his relflection a bit more, unaware that she was admiring the strong elegance of his shoulders. Suddenly he glanced up. His eyes in the mirror stood out like jewels in the rough, gleaming directly at her. Her head snapped down, finally realizing that she had been staring. She blushed furiously into her wine glass.
The heat from her cheeks traveled down the whole of her bet, suddenly making it the temperature around her highly uncomfortable. She waited a few moments until ever so cautiously, she looked at the mirror again. He had moved on with the rest of his customers, his back was now to her, greeting the handsome couple she'd been eyeing. She sighed, a flood of relief cooling her blood.
The red wine eventually dissapeared from her class, her time to herself this time undisturbed, while the rude stranger seemed to have forgotten she existed as he came and went from the bar, preparing and serving his drinks. Not even a glance from him which left Relena feeling relieved...and to her denial, a touch of dismay.
She looked down at the book laid out infront of her and frowned. How could this be? For once she had something to read that wasn't a fifty page sleeping pill about a government policy and for the past twenty minutes, she had barely read past the first paragraph of the chapter. When Wufei first leant her this book, she had barely stopped thinking about it. She could've read through an earthquake without being bothered. Why in the name for her love for literature couldn't she concentrate on it now? What distracted her so?
A clink of glass drew her out of her reverie. She glanced up to her far left to see the ownerpreparing a martini behind the bar. With his back to the customers, the young man stood at the far end of the long counter lining the length of the mirror that proudly displayed the colours of the endless liquer bottles. He was far enough for his profile to be visible. Relena watched as he expertly mixed a concoction of liquer into a standard martini shaker. He moved quickly and flawlessly, each movement precise and sharp. Suddenly he whipped around giving Relena no time to pretend she wasn't looking. His hand went immediately for a hanging martini glass on the rail above them. Relena watched in awe as the glass was suddenly whipped up right between his fingers.
She blinked. Good hands.
He turned again, back to his duty. He didn't seem to notice her staring. Completely engrossed in what he had to be done. Relena vaguely smiled to herself, almost sadly as her thoughts reminded her of someone she missed.
A low rumble came from her purse. Quickly retrieving her cell phone and read the small message displayed on the miniture screen. The Preventer government vechile she had called for a few minutes back had arrived and was waiting for her.
Quickly, she placed her novel and cell back into her purse and dug out her wallet. Just as her fingers withdrew a couple of bills, she remembered the owner's offer. She looked up and saw that he had disspeared from where he was. Relena thought about his offer. She didn't want to seem rude as to decline his kindness and yet she didn't feel comfortable with a stranger paying for her drink. Especially him. For what reason though, she didn't know yet...
With no hesitation this time, she smacked the bills down on the counter and swiveled herself around. The sight of the owner standing no more than a few inches from her nearly made her slip of her seat.
Where on earth?
"Hey," he greeted.
"Sorry, did I scare you?"
She shook her head and fibbed, "No."
Relena watched as the tall man tilted his head to the side, looking over her shoulder. "You're paying," he noted, his statement almost sounding like a question.
"Uh...yeah..." She quickly recovered her composure and hidden wit. "I heard that's something you do when you purchase something."
He smiled at her sarcasm. Again, the leftover taste of the wine grew strong in her mouth.
"I thought I said your drinks are on the house."
"Well," she drawled, "I don't think that's neccessary. We don't know each other, its my first time here, and I don't want you paying for my drinks."
His brow quirked up.
"That wasn't an insult" she quickly replied. "I...just want to pay for my own things." Why on earth was she still talking to him? She had absolutely no obligation to explain herself for anything. She did nothing wrong. Had she drank that much? And why the heck was he questioning her in the first place?
"So the wine was good, then."
For a split second, her mind went back to the lingering taste on her tongue. "Yes it was." The faintest ghost of a smirk lit up her eyes and before she could stop herself, she said, "It was definitely better than the service."
Oh, yeah. Definitely too much wine.
The sound of his low chuckle reached her ears; smooth as the wine.
"I think that just gives me all the more reason to pay for you. To apologize for my rudeness."
"Its alright. You weren't that rude." She mildly squared off her shoulders. "It takes more than that to offend me."
"Well then, I'm relieved...and impressed."
The Minister could feel her muscles tensing as he spoke. Relena wasn't completely naive-he was flirting with her. What bothered her was that it was affecting her and she had no idea how to handle a situation like this! Wasn't this kind of thing only suppose to happen to Cathy?
Relena only managed to stare back at the young owner, his own grey eyes never leaving hers. She could feel her uncertainty of the situation overwhelming her and knew that he could see it too. She couldn't believe how incredibly helpless she was in these situations and she silently scolded herself for her weakness. Her political opponents would have a field day if they saw her now.
"...Um, well, thank you for the wine. I have to go now." She finally slipped off her stool.
"You have a ride?"
"Of course. I'm not driving."
He nodded. "Good to know."
She nodded akwardly back and headed straight for the exit, her body temperature rising again with each step.
She was relieved as she reached the parking lot in no time, spottiing the Preventers vechile almost immediately. The cool night air embraced her and she took generous breaths of the crispness around her. She was fully aware of how the air brought out the taste of the wine again, her mind wandering back to the man's image in the mirror. Subconciously, she tasted her lips, collecting the last of the memory. The wine was just that good.
AN: Alrighty...this chapter was kinda bitter-sweet for me. I had fun writing iti but yet I'm not so proud of the actual writing...>. Gaaaaah! I'm losing control of this story. In the beginning I was so confident about False Love but now I'm not so sure.
So that is why I'm so unbelievably grateful for the people who are still reading and reviewinga fic that is so full of so many flaws.Thank you sooo much! As long as people are still interested, I will finish this story. I might not know what to do for now, but I do know the ending and I still love this story. I will finsih it DAMN IT. GRRR
The good news is, this story is finally developing a damn plot. Yeesh, it only took me seven chapters.O.O lol. So considering the slight delcine in my work for this chapter, I'm expecting flames. Oh, such super fun.-.-They're inevitable since the new guy is finally formally introduced...sort of. Heheh. Ooooh, yeah, so gonna get flamed.O.O LOL.
Special thanks to the people who last reviewed: Lildevg, Symee-Sama, animerockstar, Chiraku, Dsakura, Blackheart18, Elly, Chisakami Saiyuki, JK, Kia, gundamgirl818, Feathers1, MissBug, Archangel Rhapsody, A lilmathcgirl