An Unconventional Education
Rinslet's idea of a good time doesn't usually mesh with Train, Eve, and Sven's, but her uncanny ability to manipulate them puts them in a situation that never expected.
This is the first part in a several-part story. I'm not sure how many parts there will be. It'll be mostly Treve, though.
If Rinslet had expected an enthusiastic reaction, she was sorely mistaken. All three of her friends/partners simply stared at her in disgusted incredulity as she bounced around in excitement.
"What?" she snapped, annoyed, her elation dying as she looked between them.
"We are not going to a formal ball." Sven said evenly, as Train and Eve shook their heads vigourously in agreement. Rinslet's mouth dropped open.
"What?" she said again, shocked. "Why not?"
"Rins," Train said, smirking. "Look at us." He gestured at himself, his partner, and the girl. Rinslet looked.
"What am I looking at?" Train and Eve shared a frustrated glance; Eve even rolled her eyes.
"Do any of us look like we belong at a formal ball?" It was the blonde girl who spoke this time, her arms crossed delicately over her chest.
"Well, you certainly would, if we got you into an evening gown." Rins ignored the look of horror that marred Eve's beautiful face. "Train," the thief continued, gesturing at him. "Looks great in a suit, so in a tux he'd be magnificent." The aforementioned sweeper choked and blushed. "And as long as we take Sven's cigarettes away from him, he'd fit in perfectly. The eye patch just adds to his appeal." Eve snorted with suppressed laughter; Train nudged her, grinning. Sven glared, his one visible eye glinting dangerously.
"Rins," he growled, sounding more annoyed than he usually did when Train maxed out their food bill. "I'm not saying it again. We are NOT. GOING."
"But Svennnn," Rins whined, sounding very much like a petulant child who wasn't getting her way — which, by all accounts, she was. "It'll be FUN."
Sven didn't bother to respond, opting instead to shake his head ruefully and turn back to the Guns and Ammo magazine he'd been reading before she barged in. Rins looked hopefully between Train and Eve, but neither of them seemed any more willing than the older man. Eve sat between Sven and Train on the brown sofa, her legs crossed daintily at the ankle, and opened The Count of Monte Cristo at the page she'd been on — which, Rins noticed with some surprise, was near the end of the massive book; an impressive feat, since Rins herself had bought the book for Eve the day before. Train, meanwhile, downed the rest of his two-litre carton of milk and got to his feet.
"Train, please." Rins moved faster than lightening, grabbing Train's arm and gazing into his eyes with what she hoped was a demure, yet pleading expression. "This is really important to me."
Train didn't seem impressed. "And why is that, Rinslet?" he sighed, pulling out of her grasp and heading towards the kitchen. "Is there someone there you need to steal from?"
Rinslet followed him out of the living room anxiously, not responding until the door to the kitchen had shut behind them. Then she reached back, locked the door, and dragged Train into the far corner of the room.
"Look," she hissed. "For once, this has nothing to do with work." Her work being, of course, hired thievery. "It's a special occasion." When the former assassin still looked unconvinced, she sighed dramatically. "It's a high school reunion, okay?"
Train couldn't help himself: he burst out laughing. Rinslet stood awkwardly, a sullen pout on her lips and a blush on her cheeks, until her friend's mirth died away. It took an unusually short time; despite the hilarity of the situation, Train wanted some clarification.
"So let me get this straight," he began, greatly enjoying Rinslet's discomfort. "You want Sven, Eve, and I to go with you to you high school reunion?"
"What, is that weird?" she muttered defensively, avoiding his gaze. "The three of you are my best friends in the world."
Train was so shocked by this admission that he just stood there, staring, while Rins' blush deepened from pink to scarlet. Then he reached out, grabbed her by the shoulders, and tugged her into a bone-crushing hug. Rinslet let out a little shriek and struggled, but Train held her firmly, a broad grin plastered on his face.
"That has to be the sweetest thing you've ever said to me, Rinzy." Train laughed, squeezing her tighter, seemingly unaware of her flailing limbs and protests.
"Train, leggo! Can't breathe!" The violet-haired thief's voice was muffled by Train's shoulder. He sighed and released her. She stumbled backwards, gasping for air and checking to make sure her limbs were all still attached. She thought he may have broken one of her ribs in his exuberance. "So," she said with a businesslike tone. "Is that a yes."
Train winked at her. "Sure is, sweetheart. I am so totally there."
"But . . ." Rins' brow furrowed. It wasn't enough to have just Train there; as close as she was to him, she wanted — no, needed — all three of them. "What about Sven and Eve? How can we convince them?"
"The princess will go if Sven and I go," Train said, grinning. "She's amazingly loyal and tolerant; she'll pretty much go along with anything." Rinslet's eyes narrowed. There was something in the way Train talked about Eve that seemed . . . "And Sven . . . well." He grinned, a Cheshire-cat-type grin that made Rinslet feel a little bit nervous. "We'll just have to lie to him, won't we?"
"C'mon, Sven! This is big!"
"The bounty would be worth it."
"Why are you being such a huge j— " Sven cut Train off by standing up abruptly. Eve started, Rinslet looked uncomfortable, and Train swallowed. Sven's expression was murderous.
"I refuse to take part in this discussion any more." Sven's voice was colder than Eve has ever heard it. She shivered in spite of herself. She was glad that Train had decided to have this conversation himself, and not forced her to do it. She would rather be forced to eat her own rolled omelettes for the rest of her life than be on the receiving end of Sven's fury. "You and Eve can go to this . . . ball," he said the word the way he'd say 'drug dealer' or 'goth party'. "But I refuse to be pressured into going myself. If Eve wants to go, then you will have to be a gentleman and escort her, Train. I won't do it."
"Ah, but, Sven!" Train looked smug, which only seemed to make Sven angrier. "If I escort the princess, then you'll have to escort Rinslet. There's no way your gentlemanly senses will let you get out of that!"
Sven's eyes glinted dangerously as he glared at Train. Then he turned to Rinslet, who recoiled slightly. "You're still with that Number, right? Jenos?"
"Um, yeah, I guess so," she mumbled, afraid to look Sven directly in the eye.
"Get him to escort you. I'm not going." He grabbed his Guns and Ammo magazine from the coffee table and stormed out of the living room.
"Sven!" Eve called after him, sounding distressed. Train took her hand and squeezed it gently.
"He'll be all right, princess," Train consoled the desolate girl, rubbing the back of her hand softly with his thumb. "He's just upset. He'll get over it." Eve nodded sadly and hung her head, her blonde hair tumbling like a waterfall around her. Train released her hand and took a strand of gold between his fingers. Then he caught a glimpse of the knowing look on Rinslet's face and dropped it as though it were a leopard-print thong.
Rinslet stood up. She hadn't expected her suggestion to make so much happen at once. The again, she thought, smiling slightly, she generally caused trouble wherever she went.
"I should be going," she said. Both Train and Eve looked up at her, their expressions identical combinations of regret and relief. "I'll come pick you up at 11 tomorrow morning," she continued, talking to Eve. The girl's face went pale. "We'll go for lunch and then go dress shopping. It'll be fun!" she added, grumpily, seeing the terror in the bioweapon's eyes. Rinslet let out a huff of air and then left the house, glaring over her shoulder at her two friends, neither of whom seemed to want to move.
She was almost on the sidewalk when she heard someone call her name. She turned to see Eve running down the front steps.
"What's wrong, hun?" Rins frowned. There was something more than terror in Eve's eyes: there was anxiety, too.
"Rins, I . . . I . . ." The girl blushed and looked away. Rinslet had to physically prevent herself from squealing. Even as an 18-year-old, Eve was too cute for words. "I . . . don't know how to dance."
Rinslet stared. Then a slow smile broke out of her face, growing wider and wider until Eve sincerely regretted ever meeting the thief in the first place.