AN: Hello lovelies! I am, contrary to what you may believe due to my inability to update on a regular basis, still alive. Again, apologies for the wait. Vacations, homework, parties,general laziness, etc.
I will put a big warning out there, though, I will be taking longer to update now, due to some family/housing issues. Nothing major, but it will be taking up enough of my time, so...yeah.
FFF if you can't tell I don't know much about college classes and the like, so I kind of skimped out on the detail there...not to mention writing about class is just SO BORING to an American teenager like me :P
As always, thank you all so much for the reviews and favorites, I really appreciate it!
Anyways, on with the show, since I know a good lot of you have been waiting :)
The next few days dragged on for Arthur, who made it a point to avoid going outside on the deck and managed to successfully evade Alfred for all of Saturday and the majority of Sunday. He sat out on the porch Sunday evening with Francis and Veronique, eating a light seafood dish she had prepared alone (Francis had been occupied with doing the laundry and left the task of dinner to her). Arthur's eyes flickered to the fence perhaps too many times, but no Alfred appeared. Just as they finished up, Alfred did manage to show and say a quick howdy to everyone. Aside from that, though, Arthur had gone completely Alfred free.
He didn't mind that at all. Not one bit. He spent his free time exploring the rest of the house, memorizing the layout a bit more. He discovered two bathrooms and an entire basement he hadn't known even existed. There was an expansive living room/entertaining room with a bar built into it that took up the majority of the basement. Down a small hallway, there were several other rooms; a spare guest bedroom and a couple of storage rooms. When explored further, Arthur found there were old cribs and antiques that were either broken and had yet to be fixed or just hadn't a place in any other room.
To Arthur's delight, he unearthed a box of antique tea sets. They were far more beautiful than the relatively plain set that was up in the kitchen. He set out each individual piece, sorting through them and hauling the box up the stairs. He spent the majority of the day finding a place for them and determining where and when they were from. This was, to him, a Saturday well spent.
Sunday was spent in the other storage room in the basement, which contained several boxes of books. He sorted through all of them (He managed to find a few books from his childhood. He'd never admit it, but he read each and every one of the picture books he found, flipping through the pages fondly as he rediscovered lost memories) and after several hours had a large stack of books to bring into the house's library.
Monday, it rained. How fitting. He awoke to the dim, blue light filtering through his window. He was fairly certain a loud clap of thunder had something to do with his rather abrupt awakening, but nonetheless he turned over on his side to face his alarm clock. The bright red numbers stared back at him, reading 9:24 AM.
He sat up groggily, rubbing his eyes. His first class of the day didn't begin until eleven, so he had more than enough time to get ready. He sighed and flopped back down on to the bed, thinking things over for a moment. He had packed most of his papers, his laptop, and his textbooks in his messenger bag later last night, so he was already prepared in that way. He drifted his head over to the window, staring out at the overcast sky and the raindrops that trickled down the glass, mottling the otherwise clear view. His mouth twitched into a ghost of a smile. It was nice to see rain again.
Eventually, he pulled himself from the bed and went to the window, getting a better look at the scenery that was no doubt soaking in every last bit of the storm. He pushed the glass open and allowed the still kind of warm breeze to wash over him. Okay, so it wasn't quite the same. But it was the closest Arthur was going to get, so he breathed the heavy air in.
He made his way to the shower after a bit and then down to the kitchen, where he expected to see Francis and Veronique buzzing about the kitchen as per usual. He was not greeted by this sight, but instead saw Francis simply sweeping the kitchen floor, humming a familiar French tune to himself.
Arthur stared, forgetting for a moment that he wasn't always going to have food prepared for him.
He could fend for himself, of course (he had always been a fan of cooking, but rarely got a chance to at home. Yes, he had set the oven on fire once, but accidents happen, right?) He walked over to the refrigerator and grabbed two eggs, along with some left over fruit salad from last night. He searched a bit, making sure to ignore any hints to the location of the frying pans Francis sent him. He managed to find it on his own and placed it on the burner, cracking the eggs with a bit of difficulty. Francis watched, a bemused little smile playing on his lips before he moved to the dining room to continue sweeping.
Arthur took a few minutes to find the bread and locate the toaster. He placed it in and was about to get back to his eggs when he remembered he needed the orange juice. Then he had to get the jam for his toast. Oh, and a bowl for his fruit salad.
When he finally returned to the frying pan, he frowned at the brown and black patches on the outsides of the egg whites that weren't really so white anymore. Nonetheless, he grabbed a spatula and attempted to flip the eggs. To his dismay, one of the yolks broke and he sighed. He turned back to the toaster only to see a small stream of smoke forming above it.
Under his breath, he cursed and quickly hit the cancel button, pulling the burnt bread from the toaster and trying to scrape off the worst of the burnt marks. He mostly succeeded in getting crumbs all over his plate. With a sigh, he slathered a good amount of jam over the failed toast.
He made his way over to the frying pan and scraped out the blackened eggs, placing them on the plate.
Well, at least the fruit salad looked alright. Even though he hadn't prepared it.
He made his way to the dining room table, where Francis was busily sweeping a bit of dirt into a dust pan. He peered at the breakfast Arthur set out on the table and made a show of gagging.
"Monsieur, no wonder you enjoy our cooking so much…please do not tell me this is how your meals normally turn out…"
Arthur frowned. He always fancied himself a rather good cook. But, Francis was absolutely correct; somehow, every single one of his culinary endeavors inevitably ended up…well, usually burnt. If it wasn't burnt it was too salty or too thick or too something. At home, it had gotten to the point where he just wasn't allowed into the kitchen.
Not that Francis needed to know that.
"Of course not! I…" Arthur paused, quickly shoving a piece of the burnt—no, not burnt. It was crisped to his liking; that was all—egg into his mouth to stall. When he thought of a good enough excuse, he swallowed, "I'm just using a new kitchen and new appliances. I'm just not used to it."
Francis merely smiled and shook his head doubtfully, "Well, I would hope so, for our kitchen's sake…"
After that, Arthur was left to enjoy his breakfast in peace and made a nice cup of tea to sip at as he looked over the newspaper, making himself comfortable in the living room arm chair that was placed in front of a currently inactive fireplace.
When Francis informed him he was to leave in five minutes, Arthur was just cleaning up. He hurried up the stairs and put a pair of brown loafers on, slinging his designer messenger bag over his shoulder and double checking to make sure he had everything for his classes.
"Arthur, allons-y! We have to go, Monsieur, or you will be late." Francis appeared, tapping his wrist where, ideally, a wrist watch was supposed to be.
"Yes, yes, I'm coming, Francis." Arthur stopped at a mirror in the hallway and made sure his tie was straight and his hair was relatively neat (It never quite fell in a way he liked, but it looked decent enough). He was ushered out the door into the black Rolls Royce by Francis, who waved goodbye to Veronique, who was dusting, at the last moment.
The first class Arthur had was Political Science 100. Admittedly, not his favorite subject, but as a pre-law student he had to delve into a diverse array of subjects and this just happened to be one of them. He did quite enjoy learning, so he figured it shouldn't be too awful.
Arthur made his way into the large lecture hall, a frown gracing his lips as he made his way to the mostly open seats in the front. He looked over those around him, assessing where the best place to sit would be. After a moment, he recognized a blonde head as the German he had met at the orientation. Ludwig, was it?
Next to him was an auburn-haired man, who was grumbling about something and eating a tomato as if it were a hand fruit. Well, that was odd. In any case, there was a free spot on the other side of Ludwig, so he made his way down and over to them.
"Pardon," He put on a polite smile as Ludwig and the other fellow looked up, a bit startled. Ludwig recognized him and heaved a great sigh of relief, "I was just wondering if I could sit here."
Ludwig nodded once, but the one eating the tomato furiously shook his head, "No way," was that an Italian accent? "You don't want to sit next to this dumb potato-eating bastard."
Arthur furrowed his eyebrows, but sat anyways, setting his bag down and then digging around for his laptop. When he resurfaced and the laptop was placed on the table in front of him along with his text book and a notebook, he finally questioned the odd words, "I see no problem with this seat. I'm sure I will be just fine. Besides, you're sitting next to him, aren't you?"
"I was here first!" He screeched, flailing his arms around a bit, "Then this dumbass came over here! I told him to fuck off, but he wouldn't listen!"
"I recognized you as Feliciano's brother, I just thought that—"
"Don't you talk about my brother, you dumb kraut! I don't know why he even wants to be your friend!"
"Mein gott…Romano, if I had known that you were going to be like this I would have left. I'll never understand how you two are related…" He frowned, rubbing his temples with his fingers.
Arthur merely frowned and raised an eyebrow. He hadn't meant to cause such an onslaught of words, but it seemed that this Romano fellow exploded at just about anything. Wonderful. Arthur was almost tempted to change his seat before his attention was drawn to a professor taking his place at the front of the room. A hush settled over the crowd of young students and even Romano was respectful enough to curse at Ludwig in small whispers.
The professor was quite tall and well built, a firmly muscled older man. His hair fell in brown curls and was a bit messy, but it framed a tanned and hardened face. It was warm and wise, but also weary. He had a bit of a smile on as he gave an introduction to the class. He introduced himself as Dr. Roma, and shortly after began talking and lecturing.
Arthur wasn't the best at taking notes or even at paying attention, that had been obvious since he began his school career. It wasn't that he didn't try or that he didn't enjoy listening, he just tended to drift off from time to time. Since he was young, he always had quite an imagination— he was always seeing fairies and elves and unicorns (and he would believe he saw them until the day he died, but no one had to know). His mother told him he'd grow out of it. He didn't really think he had.
So he was just drifting in and out, listening when he caught himself and discreetly reading off of Ludwig's organized and detailed notes when he didn't.
Romano was listening and taking notes, but still muttering horrible words and idle threats under his breath.
When Dr. Roma dismissed the class after a little more than an hour, Arthur stood and stretched a bit, checking his watch for the time. It was around 12, and he wasn't quite hungry yet. But his next class wasn't until 1:30, so he wandered out of the lecture room, Ludwig behind him (Romano had stormed off in some other direction, but Arthur hardly cared).
"Say, Ludwig, would you happen to know a tea shop around here? I could go for a good cup of tea." Arthur turned his head, both of them now walking down the sidewalk.''
Ludwig was thoughtful for a moment, "Yes, I think I saw a Starbuck's a couple of blocks down the road. As far as I know they serve fairly good tea."
Arthur hummed slightly; he never did like Starbucks—not the biggest coffee fan. But, if it was all he had to choose from, he would go there for now. He'd ask around a bit eventually and find a better place to get tea. He gave his thanks to Ludwig, who nodded back at him before he was attacked by someone who looked quite a lot like Romano.
"Ludwig! Ludwig!" He cried out happily, latching his arms around the taller man's waist, "I missed you! Romano said he was in the same class as you and he called you a bastard and said lots of mean things, and I tried hugging him because hugs make everything better, but he just yelled at me and ran off and then—"
"Feliciano. Stop. Please." The smaller man paused, letting go of Ludwig and looking slightly distraught, "If you are going to speak with me, please do so in a slow and orderly fashion so that I may actually understand what you are trying to tell me."
The younger man began repeating his entire story, and Arthur shook his head, turning away to find the Starbucks Ludwig had been talking about. He was sure he would be formally introduced to this 'Feliciano' fellow sooner or later. Hopefully later; he seemed like an awfully loud and annoying man.
Arthur didn't need another one of those in his life.
After ten minutes, Arthur managed to find the store and made his way to the counter. He stuttered a moment as he gave his order when he swore he saw Alfred in the midst of a crowd of teenagers that passed by the wide windows in the storefront. By the time he ordered his tea and went to get a closer look, the group was already out of his view.
So he sighed to himself and sat in the café, taking small sips of his tea as he read his novel.
The second class of the day for Arthur was Economics. It wasn't a terribly exciting class, and Arthur didn't recognize anyone within the lecture hall. He ended up sitting next to a young-looking Chinese man who introduced himself as Yao. He was kind enough, but fairly quiet and paid attention to the professor (Who wasn't very interesting either—she was a middle-aged woman with a frail stature. She spoke loudly and forcefully, but her voice had a higher pitch and it sort of annoyed Arthur).
On the other side of him sat the girl he had met at the orientation. She kept sending him dirty looks throughout the entire lecture.
When the class let out, Arthur sighed. His first day of college was officially over. It hadn't been so bad, he mused, walking down the sidewalk. His professors were good enough and his classmates, the few he had met, seemed to take to him kindly (Well, sort of).
It was still early, and Arthur hadn't any plans for the evening, so he decided it was about time to get home. After all, he hadn't befriended anyone today (He would find some crowd to hang around with sometime relatively soon, he figured, he just hadn't gotten to it quite yet) so he hadn't anything to do.
He pulled out his cell, dialing Francis' number. He put it to his ear and walked off to the side so that he wouldn't be blocking anyone's path. After a moment, a pleasant female voice floated out from the phone and Arthur stared at it. The mechanic voice said something about a number being currently unavailable.
Arthur was certain he had dialed the right number. Just to be sure, he punched the buttons again, double checking them before he made the call. Again the flat voice came and Arthur hung up his phone, frustrated.
Blast that Frenchman, he couldn't even pick up his own bleeding phone. But, it was alright, Arthur reasoned. He would chastise him for it later. For the time being he could just hail a taxi. He was in a city, after all.
The only problem was that he had never actually done this before. He looked around a moment, staring at the various people. Someone would eventually try and get a taxi, all he would have to do was wait and then copy what they were doing.
So he waited.
Good god, How could no one in the vicinity try and hail a taxi in the span of twenty minutes? It was just so unlikely. He frowned at his surroundings, but figured it would be best to keep moving, since no one here seemed to be utilizing the transportation services.
After about ten minutes of walking, he finally noticed an older man standing on the street, holding his thumb out to the side. Arthur wasn't entirely sure that this was the right signal to use, but the man certainly seemed to be waiting for a ride so it must have been.
So Arthur stood by the side of the road and waited until he saw a taxi to put his thumb up. Surprisingly, the car didn't even slow down for him. He huffed, but then figured the car must have already been full.
He tried this quite a few times before growing frustrated. Maybe he wasn't doing it right. Perhaps there was another way to hail a taxi, or maybe this was just wrong altogether. He finally decided he would try it one more time, and if he hadn't gotten a taxi then he would just have to try something else. So he stood by the road again, his thumb sticking out.
This time, a dark blue pickup truck slowed down next to him. The larger tires on the vehicle raised it up so Arthur could just barely see through the glass. At first, he didn't recognize the driver and this worried him (as he was fairly certain a stranger in a large car pulling up next to you was never a very good sign in a city). He swallowed and tried to get a better look into the car when it pulled up and came to a stop.
The window rolled down and Alfred leaned over from his spot behind the driver's wheel. He pulled a pair of sunglasses from his eyes and gave Arthur a puzzled look.
"Artie? What the hell are you doin'?" He questioned
The completely baffled tone in Alfred's voice threw Arthur off. He stammered a moment before letting out a weak reply, "…Hailing a taxi?" It came out as more of a question than an answer, for Arthur suddenly felt very unsure of his taxi-hailing methods.
A silence settled between the two of them for a split second, before a smile cracked on Alfred's face once more. Something clicked in his brain and he started laughing, "Artie, you ain't got any idea how to get a taxi, do ya?"
"W-well, no, I…I can't say I've ever done it before, but…but I saw someone else…and I just thought that this was the proper way to go about things." By this point in time Arthur's cheeks were burning from embarrassment. He had obviously made a horrible mistake of some sort.
Alfred laughed harder at this. When he finally stopped for air, he looked over at Arthur, "that was a sign for hitchhiking! You weren't asking a taxi to pick you up. C'mon, get in, I can drive ya anywhere you need to go. Lucky I stopped before some creep did." He ushered for Arthur to get inside.
"N-no, thank you though. I wouldn't want to trouble you. Just…tell me how to properly hail a taxi and I can be on my way."
"Naw, get in! I insist. I was just gonna head back home anyways." Alfred smiled at Arthur, who just about shook his head again. Before doing so, he thought about it a moment. Logically, this would be the best way to get home. It wouldn't inconvenience Alfred in any way, since they were both heading in the same direction and it wouldn't cost Arthur anything. The only bad part was that it was Alfred.
"…Well, alright then. I was just going to go home as well. Since you're being so kind as to offer, I suppose it would be rude for me to refuse." Arthur spoke decidedly, wrenching the door of the large vehicle open and climbing in, trying to stay as dignified as one could whilst getting into a pickup truck. He situated himself in the rather spacious grey seats, pulling the safety belt over and then sitting, his hands in his laps and his back straight.
Alfred only chuckled at this, "Why you headin' home so soon, Artie? Don't you got college stuff or, like, parties to get to?"
"Don't be daft, it is only the first day for me. I don't enjoy parties all that much anyways. I think a nice afternoon of relaxation would do me good."
"Not much of a social butterfly, are ya?"
"…No, not particularly. I've never seen the need." Arthur sighed slightly, looking out the window as he watched the various cars and people go by. It was odd to be looking out of the passenger side window and be seeing the sidewalk. Usually there was another lane of cars before that. I'll never understand why these yanks have got their driving all backwards.
"Well, even if ya aren't, there ain't no sense in us both doin' nothin'! What do you say we go get lunch or somethin'?" Alfred smiled over at Arthur a moment before concentrating on getting back into the flow of cars on the street.
"Lunch? Well, I'm a bit peckish, I suppose. I wouldn't mind getting a bite to…" Arthur paused, slightly horrified at the words coming out of his own mouth (I want to avoid spending time with Alfred, not seek to do so!), and shook his head, "No, no, I've plenty of food at home. What am I saying? I have better things to do…I mean, there's just…No."
"Great!" Alfred smiled, "We can stop at a McDonald's!"
"Wait, what? Did you even hear a word out of my mouth?" Arthur sputtered, looking over at Alfred in disbelief.
"Sure did. Y'all said you were hungry."
"…Your hearing is rather selective, isn't it?" with another sigh, Arthur turned to look out the window, "Well, if you're going to force me into another dining situation, could we at least go somewhere other than…McDonald's? Isn't that the horrible fast food chain that's the leading cause of obesity here in the states?"
"Naw, it's that awesome fast food chain that's the leading cause of deliciousness here in America." He looked around a moment, "Closest one's about ten minutes from here. Hey, have you ever even eaten at one before? Wouldn't think someone as posh as y'all would stop at one of these."
"I haven't." Arthur clicked his tongue, still looking out at the city around him, "I may have been near one once or twice when we had to stop at rest stops out of desperation during our travels. I won't eat anything if you drag me in there, you know. Their food has never seemed appealing to me in any way."
"Never had McDonald's?" Alfred took his eyes off the road for a moment to give Arthur the most flabbergasted and horrified stare he's ever seen. "That's sacrilege, Artie! Well damn, y'all are in America now! You gotta have McDonald's at least once; it's like…an American tradition! Can't believe it…never had McDonald's…that's like sayin' you haven't tried breathin' or something…"
"Well, I wouldn't go that far. I suppose I can try a bite of it if you really insist. No harm in that…" So long as it means you'll leave me be afterwards. If I don't go now, he's bound to kidnap me later and then Francis will have a fit and possibly call the police or my father and that just wouldn't be good.
Or maybe you really do want to be friends with him, another part of Arthur's mind supplied. He promptly told that part to quit being ridiculous and to shut up. He had absolutely no desire to be friends with Alfred—he was an absolute twit, even if he was pretty much the first person to treat Arthur like he was just another person and not the son of one of the richest people in England. One of the first people to actually try and be friends with him. He hated to admit that he had a tendency to either bore people or just come off as too unapproachable.
Then again, Arthur didn't think that anyone was unapproachable in Alfred's eyes.
"You'll love it, trust me." He was smiling that brilliant smile of his once more, but kept his eyes on the road as he turned the corner, making his way to a stoplight that had just turned red.
Arthur scoffed, but remained silent, looking out the window. Trust him? He had just met him, Arthur was fairly certain it took more than a few days to build up trust between two people. The git had to be joking, Arthur reasoned. He was just very bad at it.
Alfred made a few more attempts at conversation as Arthur merely responded with single word sentences or small hums of agreement (or disagreement, depending upon the context, of course). He was hardly put-off by the simple responses and seemed happy enough just to have Arthur responding with something. He didn't like silence, no, but at least it was a fairly comfortable one.
"Alright, Artie, we're here! Prepare to taste awesome in the form of a food. You gotta order a Big Mac, man, those things kick ass. Like, you'll be praisin' me for introducing you to such awesome food, really." Alfred was starting to prattle on about hamburgers now, and Arthur wasn't even aware someone could be so enthusiastic about something so dreadfully terrible.
"Yes, Alfred…" Arthur agreed nonchalantly, only half registering what Alfred was saying as he hopped down from the large pickup truck, dusting himself off and securing his messenger bag around his shoulder (hell if he was going to leave it in that shoddy American car- his laptop and textbooks were probably worth more than that car anyways). He walked to meet up with Alfred, who was impatiently tapping his work boots against the concrete sidewalk that led into the brick building with two golden arches atop its roof. Arthur grimaced at the symbols.
"Must we really eat here?" Arthur asked as the front doors were pushed open and the cold air that smelled of salt and—oh, so this was the restaurant that Alfred's room had smelled like—stale meat washed over the duo, who stepped into the relatively empty building. Alfred answered enthusiastically with a nod, looking back at Arthur with a smile momentarily.
There were several disgruntled teens working the registers, all holding relatively bored expressions, exchanging small talk with each other to pass the time. One straightened up as the two approached, facing them with a horribly strained smile.
"Howdy, welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?" The young girl spoke, voice thinly veiled with enthusiasm. She was twirling her brown hair with one finger, the other hand lying on her hip.
"Yes you may!" Alfred looked down from the menu to her, shooting her that winning smile, "I'll take a double order of Big Macs, large fries, large coke and a vanilla McFlurry!"
She looked a tad concerned for the boy, hoping that he wasn't going to be eating all of that food by himself. She almost ignored Arthur, figuring they would be splitting a meal of that size, but Arthur quickly interjected, "I'll have…just a cheeseburger and a salad…oh, water, too please."
She gave a short nod, "Will that be all?" She asked, making sure this time, hand hovering above the cash register after she punched in a few numbers.
Alfred hummed thoughtfully, "Yeah, I'd say so, for now anyways!" He gave a charming smile at the girl's almost distraught face.
They stood in silence for a few minutes, awaiting the arrival of their orders. When the two trays arrived, they both glanced at them for a moment. The size difference in the orders was very evident, and they were both thinking the amount of food the other ordered was absurd, but neither said this out loud as Alfred led them to a booth, practically drooling at the sight of his favorite food.
Arthur tried desperately not to make a face of disgust at the burger and salad (He could practically see the grease soaking through its wrapping and from the looks of it the salad had low quality vegetables that probably weren't fresh), finding that would be very impolite, especially in a public establishment, and especially because Alfred was treating him.
As soon as they sat down, Alfred dug into his meal, eating a whole burger in the time it took Arthur to unwrap his and stare at it. His mouth couldn't help but turn to a frown.
"Hey Artie, you're supposed to eat the food, ya know. Won't do ya any good if you just sit there lookin' at it all day." Alfred laughed, peeling the wrapper off of his next burger in a slower fashion, obviously taking his time on the second one.
"I know that." Arthur huffed, looking up at Alfred with a scowl, "I'll be back in a moment, I'm going to get a fork and knife." He pushed himself from the table, the chair making a horrible screech as he did so. He winced slightly, hating the sound, but stood anyways.
Until a hand wrapped around his arm and forcibly sat him back down on the chair, almost knocking him over and causing him to give a short (dignified, and absolutely not girlish) yelp of surprise. He looked over at Alfred, who was still leaned over the table slightly, holding his arm.
"What…what in the name of the Queen did you do that for?" Arthur asked after a moment, anger bubbling up at Alfred's motions.
"You don't eat a burger with utensils." Alfred punctuated each word of his sentence, as if speaking to a small child. His lips were still twitched upward, ever so slightly, amused by all of this (which, of course, angered Arthur even further).
"And you, Alfred, are not in a position to tell me what I may or may not do." Arthur shook his arm free finally, and glared at the younger man before him. He hated that Alfred was so much stronger than him, physically, and it didn't help that the boy seemed to think things should always be done his way.
"I'm the one treating, ain't I?" Alfred cracked that smile, the atmosphere losing any tension, "Come on, y'all should just try eating it with your hands. It's in a bun for a reason! Here," Alfred picked up his own burger and took a bite out of it, continuing his speech immediately, "you eat it like that!"
Arthur shook his head, "Firstly, don't talk with your mouth full, it is disgusting and rude. Secondly, I needn't eat this atrocity with my hands, it will taste the same any way I take a bite. If you don't mind, I'd like to at least make this experience as enjoyable as I can, if that is at all possible."
"Try it," Alfred said, in that persistent, hopeful, and utterly annoying tone of voice, "I'll bet you'll like it."
There was just something about Alfred's voice that was convincing and perhaps reassuring, Arthur couldn't place it. He couldn't place it mainly because he didn't realize it himself, but he bit his lower lip for a moment, hesitating a few seconds too long in his rebuttal, and Alfred spoke again before he even got the chance
"C'mon, Artie, what've you got to lose?" Alfred was still smiling, chewing his burger between words. Disgusting.
"My health, for one," Arthur mumbled, resolve finally cracking as he picked up the burger in front of him, holding it before his mouth before finally taking a bite of the food. He chewed it thoughtfully and swallowed.
That was horrid, Arthur wanted to spit out, My god, people actually…people actually eat this? Goodness, the things people can actually sell to people, just because it's fast and convenient. I don't think I've ever had anything this awful in my life (that wasn't entirely true; he was fairly certain the snails he had in France when he was younger were the worst things he had ever eaten).
Arthur didn't say any of this, however, and simply set the burger down, taking a drink from his water bottle quickly, trying to wash away the taste of salt and meat and fake cheese and soggy lettuce. It didn't work, which distressed Arthur greatly.
"Did'ya like it?"
Arthur paused, looking off to the side, "It's not…particularly to my tastes."
"…What do ya mean?" Alfred questioned, looking as though Arthur had something completely nonsensical.
Arthur coughed slightly, taking another drink from his water bottle and then folding his hands politely on his lap, "I said it isn't a food that I, personally, would ever eat again." At this, Alfred looked a bit hurt (and terribly, terribly confused; how could anyone dislike McDonalds?). Not entirely sure why, Arthur quickly spoke again, "You're welcome to my food, I'm not terribly hungry" Not for this, at least…
At this, Alfred brightened. He quickly leaned over and grabbed the burger in front of Arthur, immediately taking it to his mouth to chow down. Arthur almost felt himself smile, relieved. Relieved that Alfred wasn't upset—Only because, if he was, he was sure to try and convince Arthur to enjoy the wonders of the disgusting fast food. Of course that was the only reason.
Not that it really stopped Alfred from trying to convince Arthur anyways.
"Oughtta try a fry, at least." And suddenly, there was a yellow french fry hovering in front of Arthur's face, which shocked him and caused him to push back in his seat, swatting at the offending food item. Alfred was persistent, though, and smiled as he continued to shove the fry in front of Arthur's mouth.
In return Arthur sputtered indignantly, grabbing Alfred's hand to keep it out of his face, "Alfred! Where on Earth were you when they were handing out tact and decency? Get that bloody thing away from me, I don't want any! For goodness sake, you're just—"
Alfred took his hand back from Arthur's grip effortlessly and managed to shove the fry into Arthur's open mouth, which had previously been occupied with ranting. Currently, Arthur was much more occupied with looking shocked and mortified by the younger man's actions. Alfred just laughed.
Of course, Arthur snapped out of it at that, and finished chewing his food before he began his tirade of insults, keeping his voice down only because he was, after all, still in public. He wouldn't let Alfred get the best of him and completely ruin his proper exterior. When he ran out of things to say about how Alfred was insufferable, he huffed and crossed his arms and sent the best glare he could manage across the table.
"Finished?" Alfred smiled good naturedly, as if he hadn't just done something so publicly unacceptable, "Shoot, Artie, never guessed you'd get so worked up over a french fry."
"It wasn't the chip, er…French fry, you twat!" Arthur exploded again, hands flying to the table, "It was the fact that you shoved it in my face! And then shoved it in my mouth! That's just not socially acceptable, proper, or normal!"
"…Why not? Just a fry; ain't gonna hurt no one."
"But…" Arthur stuttered, anger dissipating to disbelief as he glanced over Alfred's face. He was still smiling slightly, yes, but he was obviously being serious. "Well, how would you like it if someone tried to force-feed you a chip?"
"Wouldn't mind; I'd just eat it." He flashed Arthur a toothy grin this time.
There was a silence a moment before Arthur heaved a heavy sigh, bringing a hand up to rub his temples. I give up. Logic just goes in one ear and out the other with this man…
"Let's just go, shall we?" he finally groaned out, bringing his head back up to face Alfred.
"But y'all haven't tried the McFlurry yet!" Arthur soon found a spoonful of said product being pushed in his face. He promptly damned propriety, shoved the spoon back in Alfred's face, stood up and stormed outside of the building to wait by the car.
"Master Kirkland!" He heard Veronique cry through the home's speaker system that was hooked up to the one at the gate, "You're home? But…France is still here, how did—"
"That bloody French bastard is home!" Arthur yelled, his usual self-control of his temper gone from having spent an afternoon with Alfred, "put him on—no, let me in first, I want to speak with him face to face."
Veronique merely squeaked a small noise of approval, obviously a bit unnerved by the angry tone in Arthur's voice, before the great iron doors opened. Arthur walked past them quickly, going up the relatively long driveway until he reached the front doors, which he threw open.
"O-oui, Monsieur?" Francis appeared from behind the large marble staircase, a cleaning cloth in his hands and a terrified yet horribly confused look on his face.
Arthur crossed his arms and looked up at the taller man, trying to seem authoritative, "Don't 'oui, monsieur?' me! Why on earth didn't you pick up your phone when I tried calling earlier? I almost had to take a taxi!"
Francis looked at him for a moment, puzzled, "Mais…no one has tried to call my phone all day; it has not rung…" he paused mid-sentence, taking the small flip-phone out of his pocket and staring at the dark screen for a moment, "Oh…je suis desole Monsieur, my phone must have run out of charge a while ago and I did not realize it."
"Well, consider yourself lucky that I was able to get a ride home with Alfred, otherwise I don't know what I would be doing right now." Probably still trying to hitchhike on the side of the street…
"Oui, I understand, I promise it shall not happen again, it was an absolutely idiotic move on my part and— …hold on, I thought you said you got a ride home with a taxi, non?" Francis lowered his eyebrows suspiciously at Arthur, the smallest of smirks quirking on his lips.
"Well, I…I was going to, but…something came up and Alfred saw me and offered me a ride home after class, that's all."
"That's all? Your classes ended at two thirty."
"…What of it?"
"It is nearly five, Monsieur."
Arthur frowned at Francis' suggestive comment, suppressing a shudder when he waggled his eyebrows and said something about how he could 'always sense when there was something going on'.
"Nothing," Arthur emphasized as he walked past Francis, only stopping to glare at him, "is going on. I'd suggest you quit it with those indicative remarks of yours if you'd like to keep your job, oui?"
Francis chuckled, folding his arms over his chest as he smiled softly at the back turned to him, "Oui, Monsieur." He wanted very badly to make some other remark, but he held his, tongue; if Arthur took after his father as much as he seemed to, he knew well that he did not make idle threats as such. So he merely shook his head at the figure retreating to the kitchen, knowing in his head that, obviously, something was up—not necessarily romantic, of course, but at least Arthur was making a friend.
Alfred will be good for him, I am sure, Francis mused, walking back to the living room to put away his cleaning supplies for the night.
That's all I've got for you for now~ Hope you enjoyed Arthur and Alfred's little fail date there...fun to write.
Please review, they are greatly appreciated and boost this author's ego!