Title: Christmas in June
Pairing(s): Luck Gandor/Eve Genoard
Summary: Eve Genoard buys a gift for Luck Gandor, but takes her time in giving it.
Author's Notes: Written for the Baccano! Request Meme on livejournal. Prompt was: "Eve/Luck fluff - she buys him a Christmas present and spends a lot of time fretting over when/how she should give it to him before she finally does =3".
The pocket watch sat on the table, ticking away. Eve hadn't even set the time on it yet, and it read some time past four o'clock. She stared at the intricately carved hands, overlapping each other, and at the painted roman numerals and the engraved pattern on the inside of the watch.
Eve clicked it shut and wondered what to do with it.
Buying the pocket watch wasn't even a premeditated decision. She had found a pair of cufflinks that Jacuzzi might like, and was thinking about heading over to the women's apparel to find something for Chane when the pocket watch caught her eye, and perhaps it was something about the chill air this time of year, but it had reminded her of him.
So she had bought it.
They barely even spoke. Ostensibly, she didn't even like him – though she understood him better now, and she forgave him for what he did to Dallas, neither of those facts meant that he was a person worth liking. So what was she doing buying him a gift?
When would she even give it to him?
Both of them knew Chane, but that was more of a by-proxy thing for both of them, and Eve didn't feel comfortable asking the silent girl to deliver a present to a man she had, by all rights, just met. And though Luck Gandor and the events at the end of nineteen-thirty-one had been on her mind more often than not was no guarantee that she would see him again. They didn't exactly run in the same social circles.
Eve picked the pocket watch up and turned it over in her fingers. It was heavy, resting on her palm – but that was to be expected from a silver pocketwatch like this. She flicked it open and flicked it closed and sighed. She was being silly, she told herself.
And then she dropped the pocket watch into the pocket of her coat. Just in case.
She took to carrying the pocket watch with her all of the time. Even if she was just meeting a friend for tea at an upscale restaurant, it lay there in her pocket, a little bit of added weight. Christmas came and went in a flurry of carols and wreaths and bitter cold without snow to cheer it up. Eve went to a lovely Christmas eve party, and then ran into Nice, who invited her to their own party, which was much less classy but rather more fun.
And then, with the holiday over, Eve forgot all about giving and receiving gifts. Once in a while, her fingers would brush the watch in her coat pocket and she would remember her plans to give it to Luck, but she reasoned it away – it wasn't like she would be seeing him any time soon, it wasn't like he was close to her. Besides, how and when would she give it to him?
She met him again in the midst of Grand Central, while passing through on the way to meet the car that was supposed to pick her up. It was nearing the end of April, and spring warmed the air. The train station was busy, but an ice cream vendor had pushed his cart up against one wall. Luck Gandor was leaning against the wall next to the tiny cart, eating a cone of what looked like vanilla. Before she even knew what she was doing, she had gone over to him.
"Luck Gandor," she greeted him. "It's good to see you again."
He looked up from his treat. "Miss Genoard," he said. "A pleasure. It's been awhile." He gestured to the cart beside him. "Would you like to join me?"
Eve frowned. "I can't," she said. "I have a car waiting for me." And then she remembered. "Oh—but I do have something for you."
"Something for me?" Luck asked, with a quizzical tilt of his eyebrow. Eve fished into her pocket, and drew out the pocket watch. She handed it over. Luck looked at it. "What's this?"
"It was supposed to be your Christmas present," Eve said, and her cheeks were burning. It was already more than halfway through spring, and she was still carrying around a Christmas present? "Do you like it?"
"It's a very nice pocket watch," Luck said, inspecting the thing. He pressed the rounded button at its end, and it flipped open in his hand. He studied the watch's face. And then he looked up at Eve. "Have you had it with you, since Christmas?"
"Since before," Eve admitted, her cheeks burning. "I just thought, since we don't meet very often, I should have it with me. In case we met by chance."
"Like today." Luck said. There was amusement in his brown eyes.
Eve nodded, but then she frowned. She reached into her pocket, and she felt only lint. "It's kind of weird, giving it to you now," she said. "I guess I got used to carrying it around, so I forgot I had it." She laughed. "That's kind of silly, isn't it?"
For so long, it had been a kind of strange guarantee that she would see Luck again. But now that she was giving it to him, that guarantee was gone.
Luck flipped the pocket watch closed. "Well," he said. "Why don't you keep it?"
Eve gave him a confused look. Luck pressed the pocket watch back into her hand, and Eve's fingers closed around the engraved bird on the outside. She looked down at the watch thinking that it wasn't a very feminine thing to carry around with her.
"At least until I can return the favor," Luck elaborated. "I'm afraid I didn't get you a Christmas gift, and that strikes me as rather rude. As soon as I get you something, you can give me the pocket watch. Until then, keep it."
"Sure," Eve said numbly. Slowly, however, the smile dawned on her. "I suppose this means I'll be seeing you again."
A half-smile crossed Luck Gandor's normally austere features. "I suppose so," he said. "What time did you say the car would be waiting?"
"I didn't," Eve replied. "But Samantha said that she would meet me at two-thirty. I really shouldn't be late."
"No, I suppose not," Luck replied. "But ten minutes seems like enough time to enjoy some ice cream. They make it with rock salt – it really is quite good. I'll walk you out, if you like."
Eve laughed a little. She hadn't thought of Luck Gandor as one to enjoy ice cream. She'd always thought him more of the gin type, but here he was, cone in hand. Still, a little ice cream couldn't hurt. "Are you sure it won't be a problem?" she asked.
"Not at all," Luck said genially. He turned toward the ice cream vendor, fished in his jacket pocket and pulled out some cash, which he set down on the top of the cart. "One for the lady, please." While the vendor got to work scooping out an ice cream for her, Luck turned back around toward his companion. "I'm just waiting for Claire to get in. I don't suppose you know—"
"I know Claire," Eve said. "He's Chane's fiancé." Though she didn't know Chane very well, she had stayed in Eve's house with the rest of Jacuzzi's gang last year. Jacuzzi had struck up something of a friendship with the silent woman, and Eve had seen her on several occasions this past year. "I'd heard they were out of town. They come back today?"
"Well, please send my regards," she said. She couldn't just cancel her plans to spend time with the couple, but she could always make plans to see them later.
The ice cream vendor handed Luck a cone, which he then handed to Eve. She licked it, savoring the sweet, creamy taste of the treat. "Thank you," she said. "I'd better go meet Samantha."
"My pleasure," Luck replied. He fell in next to her. "I'll walk you out. It's no inconvenience."
Eve smiled and let him.
Luck Gandor knocked on the door of the Genoard mansion, feeling both foolish and strangely excited, both of which were strange emotions for him. After becoming immortal, the world seemed a bit like a caged tiger at the Bronx zoo. It couldn't touch him, but he also couldn't touch it.
Eve Genoard's servant Samantha opened the door. "Oh," she said. "You're Luck Gandor."
It was not the most encouraging greeting, but Luck shrugged that off. He had, after all, had worse greetings in his time. "Is Miss Genoard home?" he asked. "We have something of an appointment."
"She's in," Samantha replied. "Please, come in. I'll call her downstairs." She opened the door wider, and let Luck in, and then left him in the foyer. Luck waited, his resting over the wrapped package in his coat pocket.
Eve appeared a moment later, descending down the front stairs and into the foyer, Samantha following directly behind as a chaperone. She smiled slightly, and he thought that she looked very pretty, in her scooped-neck blue summer dress, with a fawn-colored belt just above the pockets and her hair in a powder-blue ribbon.
"Mr Gandor," Eve said, with a small nod of her head. "It's good to see you again."
"The pleasure's all mine," Luck replied smoothly. He reached into his pocket for the small package. "I have a… Christmas gift for you." He grinned wryly at the warm weather outside, but reached into his jacket pocket anyway and pulled out the brown-paper wrapped parcel.
"You wrapped it," Eve said, taking it in her hands and turning it over. The surprise was evident in her voice, and Luck suddenly wondered if he shouldn't have. She laughed a little bit. "I guess that makes it more festive. It doesn't feel much like Christmas, I suppose."
"We could sing carols," Luck offered. "Although I'm afraid I'm not that good."
Eve laughed at that. "That's a good idea," she said. "But I have a better one. Follow me."
She led him to a cozy parlor with several large armchairs and a small gramophone sitting on an end table, right in front of a large book case, with many books but a shelf of long thin spines proved that Eve had several records to her name. Luck took a seat in one of the armchairs, and Samantha chose a vantage point by the door, while Eve went over to the bookcase to search through some of the records, and picked one from the bunch. She set it on the gramophone, and Richard B Smith began to croon.
"Sleighbells ring, are you listening…"
"There," Eve said, turning around to smile at him. "That feels more festive, I think." She picked the package up from where she had set it beside the gramophone. "Now," she said, and she tore into the brown parcel.
Luck suddenly felt his chest tighten with nervousness. He had spent more time than he cared to admit in picking that out for her. But to his relief, Eve smiled widely when she saw the delicate necklace that was his present.
"It's lovely," she said, her voice soft. Luck watched her examine it, and thought that he might be smiling as well. "I suppose that means I have to give you yours." She reached into one of the pockets of her summer dress and brought out the pocketwatch, and handed it to Luck.
He took it from her, and for an electric moment their fingers brushed. And then, without even thinking about it, and ignoring Samantha's scandalized gasp, he stood up and took both her hand and the pocket watch in his own and began to dance with her to Christmas music in June.
Luck was very sure that he was smiling.