AN: So like the title says this is going to be a collection of one-shots based around Paulie and Nami. Because I love them. :P I'll just warn you now...I am incapable of writing "short" stories, so these will probably end up being kind of long one-shots. lol. This is probably the shortest story I've ever written and it's still over a thousand words. xD
Oh, and I don't own the characters. I keep forgetting to do disclaimers, but don't sue me. I got nothing anyway. Except my husband and my cats, and you can't have either. :P
He knew she was there. Strawhat's navigator had been hovering, trying to stay out of sight, for at least an hour now. He turned his head to look at her and she ducked behind the corner again. 'This is ridiculous.'
He didn't know what she was trying to do, but she had caught the attention of more than a few of his workers, who were now watching her instead of concentrating on their work, and he was getting annoyed.
With an aggravated sigh the head foreman of the Galley-La Company Dock No.1 set his sander back down on his work table. He had originally planned to ignore her until she approached, but it didn't look like that was going to happen any time soon, so he was left with no choice but to confront her.
"Keep going." Paulie said to Lulu as he turned. "I'll be back in a bit."
The dark haired man waved to show he had heard but didn't look up from the plans he was working on.
As Paulie walked to the corner he gave those watching a meaningful glare, letting them know he was aware they had been slacking off and that they'd better stop it. They got the point and the shipyards suddenly became very busy again.
Since she was still hiding she didn't know he had approached, and after rounding the corner he stopped to lean against the wall and watched her wring her hands in agitation, while waiting for her to look up and notice him.
The copper haired woman paced back and forth while still staring at the ground, her lips moving as if she was rehearsing something she wanted to say.
Amused despite himself the blond cleared his throat, and then grinned when the woman looked up, startled. "Did you need something?" He asked with a raised eyebrow. The pirate looked around, acting very nervous, and then cleared her throat. "Uh…Do you…Can I speak to you for a moment?"
Paulie tilted his head to look at her. In the four long weeks the Strawhat Pirates had been in Water 7 he had never heard her sound so….meek. She was usually very bossy and violent with her crew when she didn't get her way. This unusual shift in attitude wasn't like her at all and he had a second to wonder if something bad was happening before she spoke up again.
"Are you busy right now? I could come back." Unaware she twisted her hands together again, and then looked down, unable to meet his eyes.
'Well that answers that question…'
If she wasn't in a rush to speak to him there probably wasn't anything too serious happening. So what did she want to talk about? Curious in spite of himself Paulie nodded at the pirate. "Now's good. What's up?"
Absently she nodded. "Is there somewhere private we could talk?" She looked around again; making sure no one was close enough to hear them.
Now this was really strange…He nodded again and motioned her to follow him. He had an office in the Galley-La Headquarters, though he was hardly ever in it, but at least it was private. As he led her through the large building adjacent to the shipyards he wondered about her strange behavior. She seemed nervous, though he couldn't imagine why, and she walked with her head down, still twisting her fingers together.
He opened the office door and let her inside before him. There wasn't much room so he leaned against the desk while she sat in the only chair. The shipwright folded his arms across his chest, watching her while waiting for her to speak.
She had finally stopped fidgeting, but after only a moment she lifted one hand and tangled her fingers through her hair, twisting it around in circles.
Paulie blinked in surprise. Was she blushing?!
Well….he certainly wasn't expecting that. Her nervous behavior, wanting to talk to him in private, and now her glowing pink cheeks, the poor blond was beginning to draw a conclusion as to what this was about…and it made him unbelievably nervous.
When they sat again for a minute in silence he reached up to scratch the back of his head, feeling flustered. What was he suppose to say? She was very pretty, and he actually did kind of like her strong personality, but she would be leaving tomorrow morning since their ship was finished, so there was no way this could go anywhere…He felt his own face heating up. This was becoming unbearably awkward.
"Uh…look. I think I know what this is about and…um, well I'm flattered but…"
Nami looked up at him with an incredulous look on her face. "That's not it at all, you moron!! I'm trying to thank you!!" And while he was still stunned by her outburst she bit her lip in embarrassment and looked down at her lap again.
'Thank me? What for?' He ignored the slight disappointment he was feeling, focusing instead on her words. There wasn't anything he could recall needing to be thanked for.
The pirate spoke again, still blushing a bright red. "I..I never thanked you. For everything you did…to help us save Robin…" She absently picked at a loose thread in her skirt. He could see her chewing her lower lip nervously. "Thank you." It was almost a whisper. "Thank you for helping us...we wouldn't have been able to save her if you hadn't..."
So that was it then. She was acting all nervous and embarrassed 'cause she hadn't thanked him earlier? It wasn't like he had ever asked to be thanked…he had done what he did for his own reasons. Her behavior had really been confusing him, and it was for something as stupid as that?
"Oh, is that all…" He accidentally said out loud.
She looked up at him, her eyes flashing, and he tried to back pedal. "I didn't mean…I was just-"
But, having finally gotten the words out and no longer needing to worry about them, she stood up to glare at him with her hands on her hips. "Whaddya mean 'is that all?'?! What else did you think I was talking about?!" Then she got a sly look on her face. "Oooohh." The navigator stressed the word while tilting her head down so she could look at him through her lashes. "I see. That's what you were wanting this conversation to be about."
Her lips curved upwards into a sexy smirk. "Well, I'm flattered but-"
Hastily he cut her off. "That's not it either!" He shouted while waving his hands around. "I was…I mean…You were acting like…!" He felt his face getting hotter and hotter as he stammered and she looked up at him with a knowing little smile.
The beautiful woman took a step closer to him, and leaning against the desk as he had been he suddenly realized he was trapped.
"Well…" She actually leaned on him, her eyes twinkling in amusement, and her hands resting on his shoulders. "You never know, do you?" She said playfully. He was vaguely aware that he was staring at her with his mouth hanging open, feeling completely flummoxed.
And then, while he was still immobilized by shock, she stretched up onto her tip toes and brushed her lips against his. By the time he had regained his senses she had retreated to the door, wearing that sexy smirk again. "See ya later Paulie…" Then she tossed a wink at him and disappeared out of his office leaving him to gap after her.
He had no idea what had just happened. Or how. Or why!!
He sat on the chair she had just vacated. W-what the hell does that shameless woman think she's doing?!!' He ranted inwardly. Paulie stared at his closed office door as if he could see where she had gone. Hesitantly he touched his lips where they had met. He could feel a grin fighting to spread across his face and he finally gave in.
'I'll never understand that woman…'
But the thought wasn't nearly as distressing as it might have once been. The blond stood again and strode to the door. Lulu was probably still waiting for him to come back. The shipwright continued his work that day without any other incidents.
But no one could guess why he smiled the whole time.
AN: So that's that. I actually liked how this turned out, even though it ended up being completely different from what I planned. If anybody has any plot suggestions for me that would be awesome! And of course, if you wanted to review it would be awesome too. :P I want to know what people think, so drop me a line yeah?
P.S. Thanks to Aska the light for encouraging me to do this. You're awesome! ^-^