Hello. I really thought Fran & RJ were going to end up together… and still do. Which is why I'm doing this Ars Amatoria challenge. Until my other epic fluff epic, this one will go in chronological order. But they take place in the same universe- the fluff universe, if you will. There'll be 20 before JF, 20 during JF, and 20 after JF. I'm aware that this means little true fluff but hey, it's RJ/Fran. Be happy.
History: how RJ & Fran met.
A bag of books from her favorite half-price bookstore over her shoulder, Fran was walking down the street one June morning when she caught sight of a previously empty building. It was now clean and repainted, with a sign saying 'Jungle Karma Pizza' over the door. Fran's stomach growled.
Tilting her head, Fran thought about it for a moment. She still had a few dollars left, and it was lunchtime. Her stomach grumbled its agreement.
So cautiously she entered the restaurant. It was empty save for a man a year or two older than her standing behind the counter, studying what appeared to be a cookbook. He had floppy brown hair and fair skin, and was dressed in a white chef's shirt and hat that Fran could see.
"Hi," he smiled, looking up. "Welcome to Jungle Karma Pizza."
"Thanks," Fran commented, looking around at the space. It looked nice enough. Closing his book, he asked, "How can I help you?"
"A menu might be nice," Fran admitted, edging closer to the counter. Smacking his forehead he grabbed one from by the register and held it out.
"Here you go."
Fran got within range to take the menu. As she looked through it for something to buy she asked, "So… do you own the place?"
"I own what the bank doesn't," he joked. At that Fran had to smile.
"I just opened last week… haven't gotten much press, word of mouth or otherwise, yet. But hopefully someday this will be the pizza place for Ocean Bluff."
"This all looks really good," Fran commented. The slightly quirky but totally confident demeanor of the man before her wasn't quite like anyone else Fran had ever met. "I'll have the spaghetti with meatballs though."
"All right; give it five minutes," he nodded, retreating into the kitchen while Fran took a seat at the counter. She had started to read one of her new books when he asked through the door, "I'm RJ. You?"
"Fran," she replied, not lifting her eyes from the page.
"What's in the bag?"
"Trying to read one?"
The sheepish tone made her put in a bookmark and put away the book.
"Oh, good. Do you live here?"
"Yes. Do you?"
"I grew up here, but… left five years ago. Came back two months ago."
"Why did you leave?"
"My dad and I just didn't get along. So I left."
Fran could understand that, and admire RJ's courage.
"And why have you come back?"
RJ paused in his preparations. Why, indeed. Perhaps he had already said too much. It had taken him months to tell Master Mao as much as he had told Fran in the past minute. Well, it wasn't like he could explain the whole Pai Zhua and Dai Shi mess to her. She wasn't involved with any of it. Momentarily RJ wondered what it would be like to have that kind of innocence.
"RJ? You okay in there?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah," RJ responded, realizing he had been quiet for too long. "Just thinking."
"I can understand that. Sometimes I think for so long that people think that I'm ignoring them but I'm not really I'm just thinking on a tangent and-"
"Breathe, Fran," RJ said over her rambling as he put the finishing touches on Fran's dish. Fran flushed as RJ brought out her food.
"Thanks. Sometimes when I start talking I don't know when to finish and well it gets kind of embarrassing and then I get all awkward and-"
Flushing even more, Fran closed her mouth. Bemused, RJ put the dish in front of her.
"Here you go. Enjoy."
"Yum," Fran beamed, reaching for her silverware. "I will."
I did warn you that it'll be light on the fluff for a long time. But we will get there. Eventually.
Oh, I read somewhere that RJ & his dad split 6 years ago so if it's 2007 it would have been 5 years ago. Math isn't my best subject so correct me if I'm wrong.