Maes Hughes' eyes first met those of Gracia Thompson in a purely incidental fashion. However, after that first glance, something profound happened.
They met at a function which had been put on in order to deflect attention from the continual tension building in Ishval. Maes was there with Roy Mustang, one of his good friends and one of the special guests at the function. Gracia Thompson was there because her best friend, Mia, had been invited to this function by none other than Roy Mustang.
He would end up being the catalyst in Maes and Gracia's relationship.
"Gracie, sweetie, come with me, please?" Mia begged, pulling at her best friend's wrist. Gracia Thompson sighed.
"Why? This Roy guy is your friend." Gracia sighed, pushing her short, sandy bangs out of her face.
"Come on, I don't want to talk to him by myself! Plus, apparently he's got a friend." Mia said, raising her eyebrows suggestively.
"Mia, I've told you, stop trying to set me up! I don't need a man." Gracia crossed her arms. Mia gasped as Mustang began to walk over to them, his mysterious friend in tow.
"Here they come! Gracie!" Mia said, jerking her friend forwards to stand next to her.
"Mia, what are you-" Gracia began, before Mia cut her off.
"Roy, hi, how are you?" Mia said. Roy nodded to acknowledge her comment.
"I'm well, thank you. How are you?" Mustang asked back. Mia glanced over at her friend, who was not making eye contact with either of the men, and answered.
"I'm fine, thanks. So, this must be…?" Mia prompted. Mustang sighed.
"Oh, of course. This here is Maes Hughes. Hughes, this is Mia Wright, and this is…?" Mustang said. Mia elbowed her friend in the side and she shot her head up. And then it happened.
It was as damn close to love at first sight as two people could get.
Gracia's large, green eyes met the bespectacled eyes of Maes Hughes. She took in everything she saw; his hair was rather scruffy and black, and it had a portion which stuck out in front of his face. His eyes were perfectly sized for his face. He had a strong jaw line and distinctive, rugged stubble.
"Miss? I'd very much like to know your name." Maes enquired, obviously captured by the petite woman's appearance as she was his. Her green eyes shone through the hair which fell over her face. Her small, almost heart-shaped face was outlined by a delicate jaw and set of lips.
"I-I'm… I mean, my name is G-Gracia Thompson. I-It's nice to meet you, Mr Hughes." She said, trying and failing to avert her eyes from their affixed position.
"Please, call me Maes." He replied, flashing her a calming smile. She laughed breathily and looked away.
"O-Okay then, Maes." Gracia replied, smiling nervously. She glanced over at Mia. Mia noticed the blush across her friend's face and decided to help her compose herself.
"Well, we should go and powder our noses. But, Roy, I'd like to hear a little more about yours and your friend's escapades a little later, alright?" Mia asked. Mustang nodded.
"We'll be sure to catch up later on in the evening. Until then." Mustang tipped his hat. The girls both nodded and Mia grabbed Gracia's hand and yanked her off towards the ladies' room. As they left, Mustang noticed something. He elbowed his friend in the stomach.
"What the hell was that for?" Maes asked.
"If you're going to stare at that Thompson girl's ass, then do it slightly more subtly." He sighed, walking off. Maes fumed and followed Mustang.
"I wasn't staring!" Maes exclaimed.
"Sure, sure." Mustang said, waving off his friend's comment as if it was an insect in the air.
"And her name is Gracia!" he stormed off. Meanwhile, Mia was trying to calm down an excited Gracia in the bathroom.
"I mean, did you see his face? He's got such a nice face…" Gracia said, her heart catching in her throat as she recalled the man's features.
"Honey, I saw his face. And he totally likes you." Mia smiled, brushing powder over Gracia's reddened cheeks.
"Course he doesn't." Gracia huffed. Mia smiled in a near sadistic way.
"His lower half suggested otherwise." Mia said, her voice suggestive. Gracia's jaw dropped and she glared at Mia.
"Why were you even looking there? And it did not!" she exclaimed.
"How do you know it didn't if you didn't take a peek?" Mia asked, matter-of-factly. Gracia would have fought back, but instead she laughed in defeat.
"Come on, let's get back out there and find them." Mia said, grabbing Gracia's hand and walking out of the ladies' room. It only took a matter of seconds for the women to find the two men again. When they found them, Mia deliberately left Maes and Gracia out of hers and Mustang's conversation. After a little bit of an awkward silence watching their friends talk, Maes spoke up.
"So, uh, may I call you Gracia?" Maes asked, fidgeting with his hands and playing with his hair. Gracia blushed.
"Of course." She smiled. Maes calmed slightly.
"So, Gracia, what do you do?" Maes asked.
"Oh, I work at a little coffee shop. You?" Gracia replied, glad that she was getting to talk to the man.
"I work in the intelligence division of the military." Maes replied.
"Oh, yeah? That's cool." Gracia said, before she laughed at her own response.
"Cool? Well, I've never heard my job described that way." Maes smiled nervously Gracia averted her eyes and smiled, blushing.
"He seems incredible…" Gracia thought to herself.
"She seems perfect…" Maes thought to himself. The two glanced back at one another before averting their gazes once again.
Little did they know, that first awkward moment would be the start of something extraordinary.
"Gracie, are you ready?" Mia asked.
"It's just a date, Mia. There's really no need for this fanfare." Gracia said, stepping out of the bathroom. She wore a purple dress which ceased at her knees, with thick straps and a straight neckline. She wore a simple, silver necklace and purple pumps. Mia clapped slightly and her expression turned excited.
"Yay!" she said, running over to Gracia and hugging her.
"It's just a date." Gracia said, trying desperately to hide her own excitement. Mia nodded.
"And please, don't terrorise him as soon as he gets through the door." Gracia said. Just then, they heard a knock on the door.
"No can do." Mia said, turning around and running to the door. Gracia couldn't run in her heels, so she had no choice but to scowl from afar at her best friend. Mia opened the door and looked up at the rather nervous-looking Maes.
"Well, well, well. Maes Hughes." Mia said, staring the man up and down.
"Yes?" he asked.
"Are you planning on doing things of an inappropriate nature to my best friend tonight?" Mia asked. Maes took a deep breath in and began to stutter slightly. Gracia couldn't stay silent. She walked in from the other room.
"Mia, leave him be." she smiled. Maes both calmed down and tensed up when he saw Gracia. She was just as enchanting as when he had first met her, about a month ago now. He'd only just mustered up the courage to ask her out.
"Gracia." Maes said.
"Come in, Maes." she smiled. He walked in and handed her a bunch of flowers.
"These are for you." he said. Gracia took them and blushed.
"Thank you. They're gorgeous." she said, smelling the aroma of the beautiful flowers.
"Well, shall we go?" Maes asked. Gracia nodded.
"Mia, could you put these in a vase?" Gracia asked. Mia nodded and took them from her. Usually, she'd be more combative, but Gracia looked at Maes differently than all the other guys she'd seen her date. This was their first date, and she already seemed protective over him. Mia watched as the two headed out the door. She sighed and pulled a vase out of the cupboard, filled it with water and placed the flowers in it.
She stood back and took a good look at the bouquet.
"The man knows his flowers. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing." Mia said to herself.
Maes and Gracia's first date went incredibly well; perfect, even. The little restaurant that they went to was private enough so they could tell it was a date but public enough so not to be too intimate for a first date. They talked about many things, themselves, their dreams, not to mention what they wanted in a partner. This topic was basically them describing one another.
After they had finished eating, the two went to a little park near Gracia's apartment. Maes and Gracia were sitting on a park bench, across from the apartment complex. Gracia looked up at the window which looked into her apartment and sighed.
"I had an amazing time." Gracia said.
"I'm glad. I had a fantastic time as well." Maes said, glancing down at Gracia.
"I really don't want this date to end, but I've got to get home. Mia will, no doubt, want to interrogate me, and I have to have a little left in my reserves to survive." Gracia giggled. Maes chuckled slightly and stood up. Gracia stood up and they began to walk across the road to Gracia and Mia's apartment.
As they did, Gracia subtly slipped her hand in Maes'. Maes did not protest one bit; instead he tightened his grip around the soft hand of his date. As they got up the stairs and to the apartment door, Gracia couldn't contain the smile on her face that appeared every time she looked at her date.
"Thank you, Maes. For a perfect first date." Gracia said. Maes smiled. The two continued to hover around each other. Gracia smiled slightly.
"You can kiss me." she said, in barely a whisper. Maes smiled slightly and hooked a finger underneath Gracia's chin. She gently tilted her head up and he leant down slightly and their lips met, rather chastely, but then again, it was a first date kiss. A 'goodbye, I want to see you again' kiss, nothing more. The two pulled away and Gracia blushed.
"You've got my number." Gracia smiled.
"And you, mine." Hughes said.
"Alright. Goodnight, Maes." Gracia smiled.
"Goodnight, Gracia." Maes said, before turning around and walking down the stairs. Gracia walked through the door and saw Mia lying on the couch.
"Gracie! How was it?" Mia asked, jumping to her feet.
"It was perfect." Gracia said, placing her hands on her chest and spinning around, falling down onto the couch. Mia sat down at her feet, pulling them onto her lap and taking off Gracia's heels.
"So, what happened?" Mia asked. Gracia giggled.
"We had dinner at this cute little place at the edge of town, and then we went to the park across the road. We talked a lot. He's such a flirt." Gracia giggled, deliriously.
"Oh, God, you, the hopeless romantic and him, the flirt? You're going to be like his little puppet." Mia giggled. Gracia bit her bottom lip.
"Well… we got back to the apartment after that." Gracia said.
"Yeah, and you said goodbye." Mia said. Gracia giggled slightly.
"Well, we didn't so much say goodbye…" Gracia smirked. Mia's mouth popped open.
"You kissed him?" she asked, incredulously.
"No, we kissed. I didn't kiss him, he didn't kiss me. We kissed. It wasn't anything major. Just a little goodbye peck on the lips." Gracia said. Mia laughed slightly.
"Goodness. Little, innocent Gracia Thompson kissing on the first date." Mia said. "You'd better end up marrying this guy."
Little did she know, they would one day marry.
They would join as one, and start their family.
And, were it not for cruel fate tearing them apart, Gracia and Maes would surely have been together forever.