Disclaimer: I am not Dylan Moran. Otherwise, a friend of mine would have kidnapped me by now.
AN: Sorry it took so long! Just Violet and Black to go now!
Manny was seriously worried about Bernard. He'd accepted those strange five days of happiness, but when he saw him the next day, he'd looked joyful. Bernard Black, for God's sake.
And over the past two days, Manny had seen him smiling at least three times. He hadn't yelled, he hadn't smoked, he hadn't been drinking that Manny had seen, and he kept going to bed at a reasonable time.
The more Manny mulled it over, the more he had to accept the truth.
There could only be one reason for it.
He went to find Fran.
"I'm here!" she called, popping up from behind a bookshelf and looking around frantically.
When her eyes rested on Manny, she said, "Oh, it's you."
The disappointment was odd, to be honest, but there were more pressing issues.
"I think there's something wrong with Bernard! He's just so – so – so happy!"
Her eyes flashed with something for a second, and she flushed slightly before replying.
"Maybe... he's seeing someone...?" She was just hoping this kind of non-answer might throw him off, as he clearly thought this was a case necessitating the police and maybe MI6.
It wasn't close to the truth, either. She wasn't seeing Bernard. She just... kind of... slept in his bed rather than on his couch. They were still friends.
Then she laughed inside her head at the fact that most people would be trying to pass a lie off as the truth.
"That would make sense. I mean, I did find this in his bedroom. I searched it." Oh God. Was that...? It was...
It was a bracelet. It was mostly silver, with several dark purple-blue stones set into it, in the shape of flowers, and it had beautiful detailing to look like vines.
It was that indigo bracelet she'd seen, when she'd been out the day before that New Year's, and she vaguely remembered mentioning it to Bernard.
There had been seven different bracelets, all with slightly differing designs, all named after colours of the rainbow, with gemstones of that colour set into it.
She remembered how she'd spent an age contemplating the red, which would match a dress she had, and the blue, which was elegant and deep.
In the end, though, she'd decided she liked the indigo one best, that it would suit her and go with more.
Of course, she couldn't afford the bracelet. It was incredible, but expensive. So she'd left it in the little jewellery shop, and told Bernard about it.
Now, staring at it, she was completely shocked. She knew the bracelets were limited edition, available only for a few months, and only in that shop. There was no way Bernard had gotten this recently.
She gasped quietly.
"I know," Manny said. "Whoever's dating Bernard has quite a bit of money, if she leaves bracelets like this lying about."
"Holy s***," Fran was muttering. "S***, s***, s***."
She'd seen an episode of some TV show like this. Some guy bought this woman an expensive present, it turned out he was in love with her, she didn't know how she felt, he left before she could tell him, he came back with another woman, she fell for him.
It had been a fairly good show, whatever Bernard would have said. She wished she'd seen more of it. If she had, she'd know whether this was fixable.
She carried on murmuring the S-word, while Manny stared at her, incredibly confused.
"Were you... you know?"
"S***, s*** - what ?" Her mind raced. What did he mean? Oh, that. "No, I was NOT in love with Bernard. S***, s***, s***!"
"It is incredibly complicated." How many years had he kept this? Why had he bought it? Did he ever mean for her to know about it?
She went to talk to him, leaving Manny with the promise that he would understand soon. He doubted it.
"Bernard Ludwig Black!"
She strode into his room. He wondered if she was going to throw books again.
When she spoke again, her voice was strangely gentle.
"When did you buy it?"
"The milk? Last week. Why?"
"No. Manny thinks you're going crazy. He came to ask me about it, and he'd already looked in your room. When were you planning on telling me about the indigo bracelet?"
"What are you – oh, the one you told me about the night before... and I... Um, never."
"Never?" she asked, eyebrows raised.
"When did you buy it?"
"I don't want to tell you that."
"But you're going to." The look in her eyes reminded him of when she had gently persuaded him to hire Manny again.
"About... a week after... the New Year..." Her eyes changed as he said this, looking at him softly, in an almost sad way.
"You want to know why." She nodded. "I... I think I thought I could hold onto it until it would be okay to give you it, to remember it..."
She kept looking at him in that soft, half-sad way.
"Does this mean you're in love with me?" She hated herself for saying this out loud; it was so presumptuous. But she had to know.
"Of course not! Fran, it means we are... friends... who have trouble remembering that... because they occasionally sleep together... and thus do ridiculous things like buying each other bracelets, or rescuing each other from rabid bears..."
"We also said we wouldn't talk about Russia. And occasionally? And do you want this to change anything?" She gave him the option almost naturally.
"Well, you could wear the bracelet sometimes... but between us? Nothing, really, unless you want it."
That look finally went away, and she smiled widely at him.
Then, they proceeded to forget all about Manny waiting for an answer outside. Because occasionally really didn't cover it at all lately.
AN: Yay! What do you think?