Title: LBD
Pairing: Reds
Rating: PG-13/T
Disclaimer: Not mine. I just like to make them each others'.
Summary: If you look good in white, you look really good in black. - Karim Rashid (from a 2008 NY Times interview)
Notes: In all honesty I wouldn't have written it if she hadn't demanded it, so consider this belated birthday fic for Somewei. The dress in my head is linked on my lj. Un-beta'd.

LBD

-sbj

Brick is on the last drop of his Manhattan when he sees her walk in. He's never heard a room, much less a noisy bar on a Friday night, literally hush when someone appears. That aforementioned last drop of Manhattan nearly misses his mouth.

It's the assemblage that does it. The absence of that childish red bow, replaced with a messier updo, accentuates the lines of her face rather nicely, and the heels make the shape of her legs so apparent they might as well be setting off a siren with every step. Not to mention the little black dress.

This is where that red bow makes its appearance, and childish is far from the word to describe it. The ribbon wraps around her torso, enveloping her ribs, and the part of the room privileged to bear witness to her back as she passes by will later talk for years about that length of fire engine red bouncing gently against her curves.

Blossom is walking into a bar packed with people on a Friday night and the place is dead silent. She has three girls with her—presumably college friends of hers—that half the crowd hasn't even noticed yet. Brick's never been what anyone would call social, but he sets his glass down and joins the room in staring.

"Wow," one of her companions says, her voice echoing. She turns to Blossom and says in an undertone that everyone can hear, "We should bring you out with us more often."

It breaks the reverie. The bar goes back to buzzing with noise, though it is more subdued and mostly about her, and Brick catches a girl taking drink orders, indicating his empty glass. He watches the people at the bar part like the Red Sea before her—seriously, he's never seen a patron manage to squeeze in more than a shoulder there—and one of the guys actually stands and offers her a hand to help her into his seat. She smiles politely at him without really looking and helps herself, ignoring the hand.

Brick wonders what she's doing here. By the time his Manhattan makes its way over to him three guys have already approached her, one after the other, to either buy her a drink or chat her up. Despite that knockout of a dress she's got on, she doesn't seem very keen on the attention, and winds up switching seats with one of her girlfriends. Now she's got her friend shield going. Not that that would stop Brick. Not that he would go over there in the first place.

Still, she's got him looking. Black suits her. He doesn't think he's ever seen her in black. Usually her wardrobe palette is all about pastels and softness, not bold, dramatic statements. It's not really because Brick's ever made an active effort to keep an eye on what she's wearing; rather, they've gotten into enough fights over the years that he's developed a visceral aversion to anything soft and pink altogether.

Their last fight seems a long time ago. Maybe a month? He'd punched her in the stomach—right underneath the line of that ribbon—and she'd slammed his face into a building while their siblings were having it out in the skies. He traces the line of his unscarred jaw absentmindedly as he stares.

There's something about the sight of her in black. When she looks in the other direction to talk to her friend, she almost looks like the perfect femme fatale. It's easy to entertain the idea of her turning, of defecting, of siding with the wrong side for once. He thinks about how flimsy a barrier that friend shield of hers is.

Then she turns, and her expression ruins the entire effect. The girl really ought to work on a darker look. She also ought to give up drinking God damn cranberry juice at a freaking bar if she ever wants to be taken seriously.

Brick makes a face as she nurses her non-alcoholic drink and empties his own glass. What a waste of a dress. She's always been like this. Not a speck of darkness in her. Kudos to the friends who even managed to get her into a bar. That's probably the darkest thing she's done in her entire life.

Dear Diary, he can imagine her writing tonight. Tonight I wore a black dress with no straps (gasp!) and ordered—get this—cranberry juice at an honest-to-God bar! Oh, what's happening to me? I'm such a rebel!

Before he has a chance to snicker at the endless bounds of his own cleverness, a waitress sweeps by to take his finished drink and sets another down in front of him. His brow furrows.

"I didn't order this."

"It's from the girl at the bar," the woman says, pointing over her shoulder. "With the bow."

Brick goes very still and stares at the woman in disbelief as she walks away. His eyes flicker to the bar, but he catches himself and directs his attention to his drink instead. A martini. A little alarm sounds off in his head.

He has been ordering nothing but Manhattans all night, but martinis are his favorite. He picks up the glass and takes a sip. Very dry. Just the way he likes it.

He looks up, mildly unnerved and hoping it doesn't show. She is looking away from him. And then it happens.

In a fraction of a second, she tilts her head and shifts her gaze to his, those soft pink eyes of hers suddenly arresting and hinting at a boldness he's never seen before, or maybe just never cared to notice. In an instant he thinks again of defecting and darkness and siding with the other side, the drink she bought him still in his hand.

Her gaze passes to her friend so smoothly that for a second he's afraid he might have imagined it. She doesn't look at him again as she chats with her friends and drinks her cranberry juice. He goes back to staring at his martini and the single olive in it.

Dear Diary. Tonight I took down the bow, put on a black dress, and went to a bar. And then I bought Brick his favorite drink.

How she knew this was his favorite drink is a mystery to him. Why she would send it his way is an even bigger one. What is she even doing here in the first place?

Questions upon questions. Brick thinks of flimsy friend shields and the other side as he traces his unscarred jaw. He gets up, her drink in his hand, and decides to go ask her himself.

-fin-