A/N: This chapter takes place after the episode Beauty School. The title is a jazz song written in the mid-1920's.
Masculine Women, Feminine Men
"How'd you get up to that window?" Bugs stood next to Lola, surveying the distance she'd fallen after letting go of the second story windowsill simply to wave hello.
"I just climbed. Speedy's got some nice architecture here. You never notice all these cement ridges until you have to climb them, y'know." She touched the wall with an air of fondness. "That is craftsmanship, right there."
Bugs glanced from Lola to the building and then back again. "I guess…" he said doubtfully. "What were you trying to do up there anyway?"
"I thought I saw your mistress dancing with Porky and I thought maybe she was cheating on you, but it turned out to just be you in a wig," Lola explained, adding a little, embarrassed laugh. "Guess I should've believed you earlier, huh?"
"You would've saved yourself a bit of trouble," Bugs said dryly. He dropped back to lean against the wall facing her. "You done spying on me for now?"
Lola missed his slightly confrontational tone. In fact she didn't address the question at all. Her eyes roamed from his black heels to the bright ruffles lining the hem of his dress all the way up the rolls of red fabric strapped over one shoulder like a cluster of rosebuds. Bugs tapped a heel waiting for her to do something besides stare, and when she didn't, he couldn't help but feel the tiniest bit self-conscious. Just a twinge.
"My eyes 're up here, Lola," he said, crossing his arms.
"Yeah, I know. Do you always dress like this for dance class?" Lola prattled on, missing the implication of what he was saying entirely.
"No," Bugs responded automatically before realizing that wasn't exactly true. "Well, yeah, sort of. But not this dress specifically… it's complicated." He was pretty sure he didn't want to even attempt to explain the situation with Speedy to her. There was no telling how far she'd misinterpret it. And he might've been feeling just a touch silly for complaining so much about all the awkward flirting when he could've simply ended the charade at any time. Mostly he just wanted to avoid more unnecessary drama over this; it was just a weird turn of events that were unlikely to happen ever again. Finding your boyfriend masquerading as a woman probably did warrant some drama however, even if it was for a good reason. Well, an explainable reason. Actually, he'd lost track of the reason awhile ago.
Lola looked up and finally met his eyes. "You look much better without the wig," she said matter-of-factly.
"The wig was too weird looking. You don't make a very good blonde. No offense."
Bugs blinked. That wasn't the last thing he'd expected her to say, but it was right in that ballpark. He reminded himself he should probably stop expecting things with Lola. "I'm standing here in a ruffled dress and lipstick, and you're saying the wig was too weird?"
"Well, yeah. You'd look better with dark hair, I think." She reached for the top of his head. "Or you could do something with your ears. When's the next class?"
She leaned forward on tiptoe, absurdly close to his face, and pushed his ears back.
"Ehhh, I think I'm done with the dance classes for now." Bugs said, backing up instinctively. "This was the last one," he explained. He was already leaning against the wall and all he could really do was flatten himself against it completely. Lola had one hand braced on the wall near his face and the other piling his ears atop his head to study the effect. He was completely blocked in. Lola went on, completely unfazed by the fact they were practically nose-to-nose. Her eyebrows were furrowed in concentration devoted entirely to arranging his ears.
"Mmmhummm…" Lola murmured idly, twirling one of his ears around her finger to study the curl it made.
"I think I'll start charging mannequin fees," Bugs quipped, "between you and Daffy I'd make a killing."
"Sorry, did you say something?" she asked vacantly.
Bugs sighed. It was harder to deal with Lola's boundary-defying strangeness when she didn't even give him the courtesy of paying attention to his jokes. "Lola, could you knock that off?" he said finally.
"Knock what off?"
"Quit messing with my ears. It's weird," he said bluntly.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she let him go, backing up several paces and pulling her arms behind her back innocently. His ears snapped back into place.
Bugs stepped away from the wall. It was gratifying that she was actually starting to listen to him, but the distance between them now was palpable and almost cold. It was getting late.
"We should probably head home," he suggested.
"Right, right," she smiled lightly, "Walk me to my car?" she asked, holding her arm out with the elbow bent like a hook.
Bugs eyed the offered arm for a moment. "Where is your car?" he asked, hooking his arm with hers.
"I left it by the cupcake store. Over…. Uh, that-a way," she pivoted them both nearly 180 degrees, pointing down the street.
"Of course you did."
"Oh no, wait. It was back that way," she dragged Bugs into another pivot. His heels scraped against the ground.
"Tell ya what, my car's parked in the lot over there. Instead of endlessly wandering the neighborhood for this store on foot and dying of hypothermic exhaustion, let's take the car and wander around in that."
"Sounds good to me. Ladies first," Lola grinned, sweeping a hand gallantly forward indicating he should lead the way.
"Ha ha. Very funny." Bugs meant it sarcastically but a smile crept into his voice regardless.
"Where'd you get that dress anyway?" she asked.
"This dance studio downtown was sellin' em. Shoes came with it. Why? You don't like it?"
"It's just I didn't think I'd ever see you in something this flashy."
"Hey, I make this look good, and you know it." Bugs grinned, half-lidded and cheeky.
Lola made a face that moved suspiciously like an eye roll. "Please. You could say that about a Hefty bag."
"Oh, really?" Bugs smirked at her. "I thought you said I made an ugly woman?"
"Fine. You're an ugly blonde. Feel better?"
Oddly enough he did. She'd somehow managed to bruise his, quite healthy, thank you, ego and bandage it back up in practically the same breath.
He unlocked the Prius and pulled his arm out of Lola's so they both could climb into the car. He clicked his seat-belt into place and then pulled off his shoes so he wouldn't have to drive in heels. Lola sat in the front passenger seat with her hands folded.
"I really am sorry I didn't trust you earlier," she said.
"It's alright," Bugs replied, "I'm not sure I would've believed me either."
"It was a pretty ridiculous story," Lola added.
"And for all the grief you've been giving that wig it had to be pretty convincing," Bugs winked at her.
"Yeah, yeah," Lola punched him lightly on the shoulder in response. "You know what we should do?" she perked up, reaching for one of his discarded shoes.
"Other than find your car…"
"We should go dress shopping! We could go to the mall. It'd be so much fun… Oh my gosh, look!" she rested her foot on the dashboard. His shoe had buckled perfectly onto it. "We're the same size," she squealed.
"Imagine that," Bugs switched on the ignition.
They ended up finding Lola's car, not on either of the streets she initially pointed out, nor by a cupcake store, but parked in front a frozen yogurt place she didn't remember going into until after they'd already passed it.
"Thanks for dropping me off," Lola said.
"Don't mention it."
"I'll see you tomorrow?"
She paused just for an instant, absently toying with the shoulder strap of her seat-belt between her fingers. Then all at once she leaned forward, pursing her lips against his in a brief, smacking kiss. It was there and gone in an instant, but nevertheless just hard enough that she came away with a bit of red on her mouth.
"G'night…" she said softly, opening the car door. She attempted to exit before realizing the seat-belt still holding her back and she maneuvered out of it with an embarrassed giggle.
Bugs sat wide-eyed and slack-jawed until the car door slamming shut jump-started him out of his daze. He touched a finger to his lips, studying the red lipstick smudge left on his glove. She'd kissed him before, at the restaurant before they'd actually gotten together, and that had been just as random and unprovoked as this one. But it had also felt hollow and distracted and rushed. This was different. Too brief to be really satisfying and yet too powerful to be fake.
"Well, that's interesting," Bugs said aloud.
"What's wrong with this one?"
"What's wrong with it? I can't look directly at it." Bugs squinted at the layers upon layers of sparkles that made up the brightly sequined dress Lola was currently trying on. "I'm pretty sure it's made out of the same stuff that melted the Nazi's in Raiders of the Lost Ark."
"Huh," Lola cocked her head.
"See, its happening, look." His ears flattened down and his eyes rolled back until all that was visible were two blank, white, soulless disks above his nose. He distended his jaw as far as it would go, making a muffled gagging sound while sinking lower and lower into his chair.
Lola's eyebrows lowered in mild annoyance. "Fine, I'll try on another one." She disappeared into the dressing room, lowering the ambient lighting in the store by at least twenty percent.
The only other person sitting in front of the dressing room was a young man in a dark beanie that had his chin resting in his hands and an expression of misery on his face. The girl he'd come in with had spent nearly twenty minutes in her own dressing room and hadn't said a word outside of the occasional muttering behind the closed door. It was pretty clear his only purpose for being there was to carry the small mountain of bags clustered around his chair. He raised an eyebrow a little at the exchange between the two rabbits but otherwise was doing a pretty good job at ignoring them in favor of imagining he was somewhere else entirely.
"What happened to that red one?" Bugs asked Lola, sitting back up and resting his ankle casually on his opposing knee.
"The tomato-y one? It laces up weird. I didn't like the skirt."
"That's what gives it its shape."
"So it's a weird shape, then."
"No, it's not." Bugs approached her door. "Here, lemme see it. I'll prove it too you."
A pile of orange-red fabric flew over the door for Bugs to catch. "Knock yourself out," Lola's voice sounded enthusiastically.
Bugs arranged the dress over one arm, reached for the door to the unoccupied room next to Lola's and, almost subconsciously, turned back at the last second. The beanie guy's eyebrows had shot up under the hat in a look of mixed confusion and horror.
"When's the last time you got your girlfriend to wear something you liked?" Bugs said with a shrug. Beanie guy said nothing, his expression dropped into straight confusion. Bugs walked inside and changed into the dress.