How to Break the Rules and Get Everything
Summary: Gabriel Enjolras is being called back home for spring break. His best friend Éponine is going with him, because who else is going to be his fake girlfriend? No more blind dates with rich bimbos for him if she has anything to say about it.
Disclaimer: Surprise, it's still not mine.
AN: Based on a prompt from goldifuckzzz on Tumblr. This is probably the first time I'm not writing them meeting for the first time as the start of my fic. It's an interesting challenge to figure out this new dynamic.
"Are you sure you want to go through with this," he asks her one final time.
"This is the fifteenth time you've asked me this since we got in the car," she is so done with this question. "That was ten minutes ago. I've said yes every single time."
She only agreed to this yesterday, but that still gave him enough time to keep asking her if she has not changed her mind about it in the last twenty-four hours. She keeps telling him that she would not have agreed to it if she was not sure about it, but somehow he seems to have trouble believing that. She has never known him to be insecure about anything, and seeing him like this makes her feel ill. He is so much better than all of these superficial family members that he is supposed to cater to.
"I'm sorry," he is trying to fix his clothes again, like he does every ten seconds now.
"We don't have to go, Gabe," she takes his hand in hers, just to keep him from pulling at his tie. "I can tell how much you hate this, and I hate seeing you like this."
It has been almost five years since she met him as the TA in her Introduction to Political Science class – a stupid obligatory disaster for her, and a passion for him. She had had questions immediately after the first lecture, because the professor was way too into his subject and seemed to forget that this was a first year Intro class. She kept all her stupid questions to herself until after class, when she jumped on the first person who seemed to know what the professor was talking about – and she happened to catch the attention of the young TA who was trying to get away from some simpering girls who had only audited the lecture to get his attention. She saved his ass then and she has been there to save it many more times since – but usually in a very different way than this time.
"The only way it's going to be bearable is with you there," he admits then.
"Cause I'm awesome," she intends to make him smile with that one.
And she does succeed, because there is a hint of a smile on his face before he starts back up with the family angst she so desperately wants to avoid – it was her reason for initially refusing his big plan for this visit. She just does not want him to be around these people because they make him less than what he is – a great man.
"I really don't mean to keep asking favors of you," he starts the same old story again.
"Because you never do anything for me," her sarcastic bitch comes out in full force. "I never would have passed Intro to PoliSci without you. And that is just the first bullet point on a very long list. Stop it, Gabe. I'm here because I want to be."
Their friendship is not built on mutual favors; rather on an immediate understanding of what the other person was thinking without exchanging as much as a word. She knew just by the wide set of his eyes that he was a little terrified of the gaggle of girls trying to get his attention, back when they first met. He knew the second her old boyfriend started turning abusive with her – she started flinching when her best friend went in for a hug, and that was the end of her hiding. It was also the end of the relationship.
She never had to see that Montparnasse's face again, and Gabe walked around with a split lip and several bruises for over a week. It gave him more street cred – and it also gave him her undying affection and a best friend for life.
"Are you sure you're comfortable with this," he questions, grasping her hand tighter.
"I'm going to be the luckiest girl in the world," she grins at him, ready to tease him into being himself again. "There is a long list of woman who'd kill to be here right now."
There is many a girl who would kill to be in her place, as the stream of young students coming into his lectures – or any class that he is associated with – is still unsurprisingly long. The young, nubile freshmen almost outnumber the upperclassmen that admire his godly looks and his superior intellect. Yes, that is her quoting some of these girls – and when she is not trying to keep Gabe's head from inflating to ten times its normal size, she might tell those girls that she believes that they are right. Maybe now is the right time to tell him that, because he does need to feel better right now.
"We're here," the driver announces in a solemn voice as they finally arrive at the end of the drive to the incredible Enjolras estate.
"Come on then, darling," she winks at him, gracefully climbing out of the car.
Gabe is still just sitting there, staring at her in complete shock. She never calls him darling, and they both know that well, but she also knows that she has to uphold their little cover from now on. They have not said anything too incriminating so far, and she wants to keep it that way – the driver, after all, is paid by the Enjolras family.
"I'm sorry," he finally seems to understand, and he gets out of the car and waits for the chauffeur to get their suitcases. "I did not mean to ignore you, love."
There is a quick kiss planted on her cheek, and she tries really hard not to let that surprise her in a significant way – she must look like this is normal for the two of them, because she has no doubt that the chauffeur is going to regale their every word to Gabe's family, so that they will have enough ammunition for this vacation. Still, she is going to use some ammunition of her own, because she is going to make sure that these people no longer make her best friend feel like he is not worth anything – he is worth everything to her, and they are going to know about that.
"Those who are about to die, salute you," she whispers into his ear.
"Ponine," he tries to admonish her, but his chuckles give him away.
She links their arms, noticing that the butler – seriously, the Enjolras family still has a butler – is taking their suitcases into the mansion. They now look like the picture perfect couple that they are pretending to be – while she hopes his parents do not attempt to set him up with another wealthy blonde bimbo that he has no interest in. Really, when it comes to relationships Gabe simply does not have a deal.
He has never shown any kind of sexual or romantic interest in a woman or a man – and she would know about it if he had fallen for someone. He tells her just about everything, and she tells him almost everything about her life in return – she even tells him about the rare times when she has a love or sex life, and she watches him blush.
One of her greatest hobbies is making Gabe blush.
"Remember that I love you," she tells him without even exaggerating.
"This is usually the point where you crack a joke about me not dying a virgin," he responds as a blush creeps up the back of his neck.
Well, she would be cracking that joke if they were not currently at his parents' house, trying to get them off his back by trying to make them believe that she and Gabe got rid of his virginity long ago. He is not even a virgin, because he did have sex with a high school friend of his before they met, but he has not had sex since they met, and she likes to mess with him because of it. She continues to call him a virgin – he refuses to talk about his first time, and until he does, she's going to tease him about it.
"I'll try not to be too much of a bitch," they start walking towards the house.
That makes him smile a little, and the smile stays on his face until they enter the giant mansion that he used to call home. The apartment that he now calls home is theirs, with two separate bedrooms and just enough room for all of their books.
"Gabriel dear," his mother makes an entrance, coming down the big stairs.
"Hello mother," the smile on Gabe's face turns fake and brittle, and that completely shatters her heart. "It's good to see you. Meet my Éponine! Ponine, this is my mother."
The hate on the other woman's face only scares her a little, because she knows she is not what this woman wanted for her son. She is not a pretty blonde; she is a skinny brunette who is only just starting to get her proper figure back after too long a time of starving herself to look perfect for a man who did not deserve her. She is as far from rich as people get – but at least she is no longer homeless. There is nothing about her that these superficial people will like – not even that she actually does love Gabriel.
"It is nice to meet you, Mrs. Enjolras," she attempts to be polite.
"You did not tell us that you were bringing a guest, Gabriel," his mother seems to have some other plans up her sleeve, judging by the cold look on her face.
She saw the e-mail, heard the call, and she would have convinced him to send some smoke signals if she knew that the message was not going to get through in any other way – but she also knows that this is not a matter of Gabe not being clear enough; rather, it is a matter of his mother not wanting to hear what he has to say on this subject.
"I did tell you," Gabe at least tries to protest.
"And now poor Cosette is here while you bring a secret mistress with you," mother Enjolras already has the next set-up arranged, and they ruined it.
If this Cosette is the same Cosette she knew many years ago, they are really going to be in for a treat. She is going to be all over Gabe if that is necessary to make the point – and if she gets him to blush as well that is just a lovely bonus.
"You're damn right we're sleeping in the same bed," she is speaking softly, but she is enunciating clearly to make sure that he gets the message. "I am not putting it past your mother to walk in on us in the middle of the night just to make sure that I actually am who you say I am. I am going to be in your bed whether you want me there or not."
At this point, she has stripped down to a t-shirt and underwear, and the ever-present blush is back again. He has seen her in a bikini a few times; he has even seen her naked by accident several times now – one of the hazards of living together with her, because she is not a very modest person and she is proud that she is actually starting to fill out more and more. She is starting to like her body again.
"You sleep naked," he remembers a very important factoid about her.
"Are you that uncomfortable with that," she has to ask, because even though she does not sleep well in clothes, she would compromise for him.
Still, just imagining his mother's face as she just 'happens' to come across their bedroom in the middle of the night and finds her naked and in bed with her son – the idea alone is making her chortle. She wants it to happen very badly, and while she knows that it would make him uncomfortable, she would still want to try it, at least.
"I might feel a bit awkward about it," he confesses, scratching at the back of his neck because he can't look at her and say this. "But you can sleep in the nude."
She whips off her shirt without ceremony, leaving her in the fancy underwear set she bought especially for the occasion – she is taking the dress to impress thing very seriously at this point. Also, she just wants to feel sexy again.
"Gabriel, are you in here," mother dearest is right at the door.
It will only take her a few seconds to enter, so she has to act quickly.
As she pulls Gabe towards her, she messes up his hair and yanks off his shirt, so that he at least has an appearance of having been debauched. He lets her lead him onto the bed, so that she is sitting on his lap, straddling him.
"I'm sorry," she whispers before moving in to kiss him.
"I know what I asked," he replies, letting her fuse their mouths. "It's okay."
There is not much time until they will be discovered, but she still wants to take her time with him – she is not ever going to have another chance to do this, and she is curious enough to want to know just exactly what it is like to kiss Gabriel.
As it turns out, it is surprisingly amazing and intoxicating. His mouth moves slowly but surely, and he knows without her showing or telling him that she likes to have her lower lip nibbled on. He is a talented kisser, and with all that she knows about him, she both is and is not surprised – he does not spend a lot of time on dating and relationships, but he is also the most passionate guy that she has ever met.
And when he curls his tongue, she is completely lost in their act.
His hands finds their way to her lower back and then to her ass, and without asking he takes the liberty of sticking his hands down the back of her panties – she has to climb closer to him because she wants more. His hands massage her so nicely that she has to reward him by tugging on his earlobe with her teeth.
"Ponine," he stammers softly, and she smiles with pride.
Then there is the squeak of the ancient door opening and while that sound barely registers with her, the scream his mother lets out certainly kills the mood.
"Gabriel," she shouts out, seemingly appalled at what she has found.
"Mom," he is not even faking his embarrassed response, immediately taking his hands off her ass and trying to cover her up with his shirt.
She takes the shirt gladly, hoping to drive the point home to his mother that they are so comfortable with each other that she sees nothing wrong with wearing his clothes in front of other people. Also, his shirts are always soft and they smell like him. There has been many a time when she could not sleep without holding his shirt.
"There will be none of this under my roof," his mother is trying to ruin it all.
"You should not have come into our bedroom," he tries to placate her. "This is our personal space, and what we do here is our business."
This just might be the first time during which he actually dares to stand up to his dominating mother and tell her that she is in the wrong here. She is mentally waving her pompoms at him – and that is not a euphemism for anything this time. She is always his biggest fan and his most enthusiastic cheerleader.
"I just wanted to wish you both a good night," his mother is legitimately pouting.
"Next time, wait for us to say that you can come in," Gabe offers a compromise.
It is a reasonable thing to ask of even the most overprotective mother, but Mrs. Enjolras still is not happy with how things are going. Well, she is not going to let this happen again, because if this woman tries to come into her room again while she and/or Gabe are in it, she is going to put on a show that she will not forget – not ever. Next time there is going to be full nudity involved – his or hers, she is not sure yet.
"Good night," his mother does not acquiesce, but she leaves anyway.
"Good night Mrs. Enjolras," she puts on an air of sweetness and watches the door close.
They are left with the awkward situation of her wearing his shirt and him looking too scared to ask for it back. She plays with the hem of it, resting on her upper thighs and wonders if she can just keep this shirt until the end of time.
"Let's get ready for bed," he breaks the silence.
"You're a damn good kisser," she mentions it casually, regretfully slipping his shirt off.
He stumbles over his own feet in response – he is obviously trying to take off his pants without her looking at him too much, but the stumble makes it all obvious to her, so she is just going to keep staring at him until he gathers up the courage to take his clothes off even with her watching. In the mean time, she is tossing his shirt onto the gigantic bed that is dominating the room and unhooking the catch on her bra.
She lets the straps fall down and then catches the bra before it falls onto the floor, trying not to be too obviously fishing for a reaction from him. Her matching panties are easily discarded as well, and then she stands naked and just waits.
"I'm sorry," is all that he says.
"What the hell are you sorry for," she is tired of his apologies and excuses.
"I don't want you to do anything you're not comfortable with," he continues his shtick.
Since he is looking down at the floor with everything that he says, she gathers that he is still uncomfortable both with her being naked around him and her having to kiss him to get his mother off his back – not that she felt any unnecessary pressure there.
"Gabe, you know me too well to pull that," she manages to be reassuring even though she is distracted by the muscles dancing on his naked back. "I never do anything that I really don't want to do. I happen to like kissing you – well, I just figured that out – and I have no problem with doing it several more times."
It could change their friendship, she knows that, but she is also so completely comfortable with him that she maintains a promise to herself that she will be honest with him no matter what. Even if he never wants to touch her again after this week, she will continue to be his friend – she might go a bit crazy without his comforting hugs to tide her over after a bad day, but she will manage.
"But I had my hands on your – behind," he rarely uses any crass words.
"And I enjoyed that very much," she sighs at that lovely memory. "You have my permission to do that again. I'm not saying you can do it whenever, but when it's just the two of us; you can definitely try that again. Or that thing with your tongue."
He has now finally finished taking his pants off, and the blush on the back of his neck just about tells her everything that she needs to know. She just wants to show him that he has absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, but she also knows that it is not going to be easy – especially now that the two of them are trying to maintain a ruse in front of his family that calls for her to fake an attraction to him. The biggest problem with this is that she is not faking the attraction right now, and that is terrifying.
"Did you like it," she questions, feeling way too vulnerable about his answer.
"I liked it a little too much," he turns to face her again, dressed only in his boxers. "You're my best friend, Ponine – or just my only real friend. I love you more than anyone in this entire screwed up world, and I don't want my usually dormant libido to screw it up."
Shit, he just made another one of his practically perfect speeches, and as usual, she has nothing eloquent to say to him in response. Still, she can return the hug that comes with a speech like this one – and she might take the chance to cop a quick feel of his ass, because it looks wonderful. She wonders how he will deal with naked hugging.
"I love you, Gabe," she tells him, letting his arms wrap around her.
Her body ignites, and she is trying as hard as she can to keep that feeling from showing, both on her face and in her body language. Their chemistry has never been this explosive before, and she blames the kiss earlier for igniting a flame that should have stayed extinguished. It seems both of their libidos have woken up from a long sleep and decided to drive the both of them absolutely crazy. His chest is rubbing against hers and she bites her lip hard to stifle the moan that wants to come out.
"You're naked," he finally seems to notice, and he steps back.
As she climbs into the bed that they are going to be sharing, she pretends that she does not see his eyes linger on her form.
They meet Cosette Fauchelevent at a party that is organized especially for Gabe's return home – even if it is just for the weeklong vacation. Really, his parents are just looking for an excuse to surround him with wealthy, eligible women – anyone who is not she.
Gabe has been surprisingly petty about the whole deal of even having to attend the party, quibbling with his parents about formal wear and only giving in when she told him that she would fix his tie – she might have a slight thing for men in suits. He is really trying to stick it to his parents at this point, with his hands always on some part of her body, and the occasional brush over her body putting her on edge.
"You must be Gabriel," the blonde is already stepping closer to him.
"And I must be his girlfriend," her hackles are rising and she is getting childish.
"Cosette, meet my Éponine," Gabe is quick to smooth things over. "I'm really sorry if my parents gave you the wrong impression. I came home specifically to introduce them to Éponine, and I'm afraid that they did not take it very well."
To her credit, the girl is not completely stupid and she takes a few steps back from her Gabe – and she should really stop being so possessive over him, even though it actually fits with their little charade. It is just with the way that Gabe has been touching her over the last twenty-four hours she has been constantly on edge.
"Éponine Thenardiér," Cosette speaks her name with apprehension.
"The one and only," she is starting to get suspicious – and then it clicks.
This is the same Cosette that her parents took in when they were children – as long as Cosette's mother could pay for her room and board. She had not been very nice to the other girl, since she had always been a jealous creature, and she was worried that this new girl was going to be her father's new favorite. Luckily enough for Cosette, she did not stay long enough to become father's favorite. She got to leave.
"I'm sorry for that time," she immediately apologizes.
"I'm sorry that you didn't get to leave," Cosette seems to understand – meaning that she probably heard about what happened eventually. "I hope you're doing okay now."
She is surprised at how well the other girl is taking this, because she probably has every right to hate her about some of the stupid shit she said as a kid. Cosette got the better end of the deal though, so she can afford to be magnanimous.
"Well, I have Gabe," she rightly attributes most of her happiness to him.
"And you're also the strongest woman I know," Gabe attempts to correct her.
He always says things like that, and she really is working on believing him about that sort of thing, but it is an ongoing process – she has too often been told how worthless and ugly she is. She can believe that Gabe believes it, and that has always been enough so far. He legitimately believes that she is the best person on this planet, and when he says that sort of thing she usually wonders why she cannot just fall in love with him and make life perfect – she doubts anyone is ever going to mean as much to her as Gabe does. Right now, she is just wondering why she isn't kissing him in thanks.
"Éponine, you're a lucky woman," Cosette winks playfully.
"You're already teaming up," Gabe has noticed an alliance being formed.
When Cosette gives her phone number to her instead of to Gabe at the end of the night, there are no stupid jokes – rather Gabe seems to be happy that she has made a new friend, even though he makes her promise to not discuss any of his intimate details with Cosette. She likes the idea of there being intimate details to discuss.
His parents have given up on the idea of Cosette as their future daughter-in-law when they see Cosette drop her off at the house for the third time in as many days, with Gabe nowhere in sight. They went get manicures and chatted about silly things and pointedly ignored the topic of childhood. She is surprised to say she had a great time.
"Hey babe," Gabe is waiting for her at the door.
She plants a kiss on his lips, because she has been waiting to do that all day, and this time she is sure that his parents are watching the two of them. What she planned as a quick peck quickly turns into a full make-out session.
"Well hello to you too," she breaks away wearing the biggest smile.
"I missed you," he speaks these words so casually.
This makes her think that it is time for her to be really honest with him again. They are still acting like a couple most of the time, and it does sometimes slip into their private moments as well – and it works so well for the both of them that she wonders why they don't just make it official and become a couple for real. There won't even be very much a difference, because they've been a couple in everything but the sexual sense.
"It was only a few hours," she takes a hold of his hand and steers him towards their room. "But I know what you mean. We need to talk."
That almost stops him in his tracks, but they keep going until they reach the room.
"This sounds a little too ominous," he sounds as scared as he looks.
"It's confession time," she closes the door behind them. "You know that I love you more than anyone in the world, but I need to get this off my chest and I just hope that you don't hate me after this. I couldn't bear it if you hated me."
He is not happy, and the fear on his face is making her a little nauseous. She has made that promise to be honest to him at all times, but she still worries that this is a situation in which it is just best to stay silent and let the feelings eat her up inside. There have been several times when she bit her lip to keep from screaming his name – all of them in the shower, because that was the only way to masturbate without him there. She does not think that she can take doing that for much longer.
"I want you," she simply says, because that is all she can say.
"What," is his extremely eloquent response.
"I want you to touch me all of the time," she just starts naming examples of just what she is feeling. "And when you do, my skin is burning up and I ignite. I want you to be in bed with me every single night. I want to wake up next to you after a night of barely sleeping and still feel well rested. I want to have sex in every room of our place. I want to try out if the kitchen table is as sturdy as you claim it is. I want everything."
Then there is silence – and it is killing her, because she just put everything on the line and asked for more. She has long ago learned to accept what she has been given and not to ask for more – that only ends badly. And now she broke her own rule.
She asked for everything and she does not know if he can give her that.
"You already have everything," he speaks so softly that she can barely hear him.
He steps in and kisses her, with nobody there but them. It is a bold move and she would applaud him for it if she were not too busy kissing him back with everything in her power. He does that thing with his tongue again and she starts breathing heavier, hoping that he will have the courage to go further. She wants him so bad.
"We're dating now," he whispers in her ear.
"Really," she teases, running her nails over his scalp. "Now you'd better hope that I don't have a three date rule, mister Enjolras."
There is no such rule for Gabe. She has already broken all of them.
AN: Yes, Cosette is nice in this one. She's a bitch in some other pieces I've written. Honestly, there are not very many interesting things about her character for me, so her characterization can change based on the circumstances she was raised in and the way Éponine has moved on from childhood.