Author: Blonde Cecile
Rating: PG-13 for sexual implications and sensual use of tongue. RAWR!
Length: One-shot; 924 words
Prompt: Written for the HA! Prompt community on livejournal. Set Two, Prompt C: spilling wine on your date.
Disclaimer: Hey Arnold belongs to Craig Bartlett, 'cause he's the coolest. That means my fanworks don't pay my bills.
Summary: Wherein Rhonda's kind of famous, Gerald's kind of impulsive (for once), and everybody's a little lonely (except Arnold).
A/N: Thanks to Kimmee (Smichiko) for the beta!
by Blonde Cecile
"I know what you want from me," Rhonda said, then took a small bite from her salad.
Gerald stopped chewing and stared. "You do?"
"Well, of course," she responded casually. The flames of both the candles on their table fluttered as a waiter zoomed by. Rhonda rolled her eyes at Gerald's blank expression. "Oh please. Don't give me that innocent look. Your high school sweetheart ran off with a Harvard man five years her senior, and you expect me to believe that you're out looking for new love already? You'd better start chewing with your mouth closed, Johansson, if you expect to make it to my apartment tonight."
Gerald snapped his jaw shut and averted his eyes, choosing instead to stare at his chicken crêpe rivara or whatever the hell it was called. Why did she have to go and bring all that up? It was the last thing he wanted to think about tonight.
He tried to drown out those noisy violins two tables over, wondering whether this had been a bad idea from the start. After telling himself for months that he needed to get out and date again, he'd finally just acted on impulse when he and Rhonda ended up next to each other in line at Starbucks. Impulsiveness wasn't normally his thing - he usually left that to Arnold. Arnold who, of course, was married with two kids.
But if Gerald was honest with himself, he knew that there was always something about Rhonda that intrigued him. It intimidated him too, hell yeah - he'd already wiped his sweating palms on his pants tonight more times than he could freakin' count - but intrigued him all the same. Would he have taken her to a restaurant where the napkins weren't even made of paper, but cloth, if she didn't intrigue him?
Not to mention that magazine she was featured in that he couldn't seem to toss out. Or stop staring at. Every day.
"That was months ago," he dismissed, hoping to drop the topic. He wasn't sure what he wanted from Rhonda, exactly, but he sure didn't want her to think he was now somehow romantically handicapped.
"Yes, but how long were you two in a relationship? Five, six years?" Rhonda asked with a dignified wave of a manicured hand. "She probably got tired of waiting for a marriage proposal. Not to mention-"
"Hey, can we maybe not talk about this?" Gerald snapped.
"Alright, fine. But I don't want to talk about my fantastic break-up, either."
"Fine!" she hissed, then knocked back the rest of her red wine. She set the empty glass down and looked over her shoulder, presumably searching for the waiter.
"I got it," said Gerald, picking up their bottle of wine. Rhonda lifted an unamused eyebrow and pushed her glass toward him. He wasn't quite sure what went wrong exactly, but as he leaned over the table and poured, he nearly dropped the bottle (his palms were slippery, remember) and Rhonda's glass tipped over backwards.
She gasped and sat straight back in her seat. "Shit! I'm sorry!" Gerald exclaimed, quickly rushing to her side with his napkin. "Man, I'm so sorry."
Afraid to look up at her face, he focused on blotting at the spill, which had gotten along the side of her dress and on her chair. He even had to grab her napkin when his got too soaked, and the heat rushing to his face scorched away any dwindling confidence he might've had left. He hated making a fool of himself. And the fact that it was in front of Rhonda Lloyd only made it worse.
When he finally did chance a glance, her eyes were closed, as though she was willing herself to remain calm. Gerald had a feeling she'd be screaming her head off right now if they weren't in such a nice place. A few onlookers were whispering conspiratorially amongst themselves, unheard beneath the crooning of the violins.
"Ugh, my hand is all sticky," Rhonda complained in a hushed voice, holding her damp hand in the air with nothing left to dry it off on. Gerald grabbed it, not really sure what his intentions were (he now understood why Arnold carried that darn handkerchief around all the time), he only knew that didn't want to end the date with Rhonda upset. Acting on impulse, he brought the glistening patch of skin to his mouth.
They locked eyes as Gerald pressed his lips down, open-mouthed. He slid his tongue along the skin, circling and massaging, and watched Rhonda's pink cheeks grow ever redder. He was pretty sure he was blushing himself.
Neither of them broke eye contact as he sucked gently along the side of her hand, at the soft skin between her thumb and forefinger, until finally the taste of wine was gone. He grazed a few stray kisses across her knuckles, then let up, still keeping her hand in his.
"There," he murmured. "No more sticky."
Still unable to look away (the same went for everyone else in the restaurant, judging by the silence), Gerald noticed the frown lines that barely framed Rhonda's mouth, and the few strangely-placed freckles on her forehead... things that the magazines must have airbrushed out. Seeing the real thing, he decided, was way better.
All of a sudden, Rhonda cleared her throat and stood.
"Where are you going?" Gerald asked on impulse.
"Back to my apartment," she said, pulling on her long, red jacket and dropping three twenty-dollar bills on the table. "You coming?"
. t h e . e n d .
A/N: Happy Valentine's everybody! I don't think anyone's going to buy me chocolate, so I may have to go off in search of my own, 'cause I need me some chocolaty goodness, damn it. Perhaps next year I shall write fic in exchange for someone sending me chocolate. Hell, I should write fic for chocolate no matter what time of year it is! XD
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