***Last week I got super duper sick and completely lost my voice, so I just didn’t have the energy to get a Tagged chapter up. I’m healthy, now, though! ~Let’s Connect! FFC***
*Remember, this is a sequel to Vanderwood Backstory, and Cerise has a bio. You can support my writing on patreon and get access to my VIP Discord Server or other goodies like early chapter releases and hidden scenes. Tagged Chapter Directory*
The week flew by much quicker than he would have liked, and now he was spending time at Seven’s again. There was really no reason for him to be with the kid anymore, as he no longer had to monitor his work to keep the both of them from being killed, and he felt a little underfoot as Seven…Saeyoung…was helping his twin brother recover. Maybe it was about time he moved out again? Especially since he and Cerise were getting married. It wasn’t just because he couldn’t bear to be apart from her because he worried she was going to get herself into some sort of trouble. Okay, so maybe it was that a little bit.
Vanderwood snorted at himself and opened his phone as he was lying on the bed, sending her a quick selfie, feeling a little like an idiot doing it still, but knowing that she liked it. He also just loved to get hers back. Now he was scrolling through Fakebook. Wait…who was posting on her wall besides Cerise? Vanderwood groaned as he read the status. `We should get together and do this again sometime.` It was that one annoying rich boy with the stupid hair again.
His eyebrow twitched, and then he opened the video. Dancing…Cerise was an amazing dancer, but his eyebrow apparently was, too. This kid, whoever he was, was way too physically close to his Cerise. It seemed like the video was a few years old, but Vanderwood didn’t like it. He posted in the comments, that little jealous monster in his chest. `Should make a video of us together instead.`
He almost wrote that he was far more attractive, which was true. Vanderwood didn’t have idiot hair, and he didn’t look like a teenager, but that was a little too douchey to point out in public. No matter how true it was. He grunted and sent Cerise another text. `I’ll be over for breakfast tomorrow. Who’s Fortun?` Vanderwood didn’t want it to seem like he was judging her, but at this point he genuinely needed to know. She hadn’t dated anyone other than that one when she was in grade school, so whoever this idiot was, he hadn’t heard much about him.
With Marion out of the house, Cerise had decided to run around town by herself the past week. Not that he didn’t let her go out without him when he was there, but he was such a worry-wort. Cerise heard her phone ping and checked it to see that he had sent her a selfie. Each time he did it, it made her extremely giddy, because she knew that he didn’t particularly like taking them…or having his picture taken at all, really. Yet, he still did it, because he knew it made her happy. It was a good thing she took a pre-emptive selfie before she left the house that she hadn’t posted yet.
She sent that selfie back along with a ton of heart emojis. Normally, she wouldn’t try to lie to him or hide the fact that she had gone out, but she wanted to get him something as a surprise and she couldn’t do that if he was looming over her. Probably, if she would have sent a selfie of her out and about, she had no doubt he would worry over it, find out where she was, and be there in an instant. It wasn’t like she was going to be shanked or kidnapped on the street or anything. Cerise shook her head. He was a little ridiculous sometimes, but she still loved him.
Her phone was going off again, but she was used to receiving multiple notifications at once. It was a good thing she had a different ringtone for her texts. She had just entered a store when her phone went off again. “…Fortun?” Why was he asking about Fortun? How did he even know Fortun? He had probably seen him commenting on something. Cerise stopped to send back a quick text, making sure to stand out of the way as she did so. God, she hated when people stopped in the middle of somewhere to text. `1 of my best friends from home. Can’t w8 2 c u~ ( ˘ ³˘)♥ ` With that sent, she began wandering around the store in search of the perfect something.
His phone pinged. One of her best friends? The dancing eyebrow returned. One of her best friends was a flirty male? Okay, so he was probably being ridiculous, but he’d come to accept that he was possessive at this point. `Me either. I’ll miss you until then.` Eventually, this Fortun guy would just have to figure out that Cerise was beyond taken. Vanderwood got back on Fakebook only to more irritation. Cerise must be busy if she hadn’t seen any of this yet. Fortun had typed back `You haven’t danced with your fiancée yet? Funny. I’ve danced with her a lot.` There were more videos linked now as well.
`I was too busy dating her and getting engaged. Sorry.` What was it this guy wanted other than to be annoying? Vanderwood bit his tongue and just continued scrolling only to a few minutes later see another thing from Fortun on his fiancées wall – an outfit of sorts. He had to admit it would look great on her, but he didn’t like Fortun asking her address to send it to her. Cerise wasn’t responding to any of it right now, which made him wonder what she was up to.
Maybe he was just paranoid, but he got the feeling that she wasn’t in the house. Granted, it wasn’t like she wasn’t allowed to be out of the house, but he was anxious wondering what she was doing. `Your friend seems particularly friendly today. What are you up to shortcake?` That wasn’t too horribly anxious or overbearing…nor too descriptive on how much he wanted to smack her little friend upside the head. She had to be home and probably just busy with something, based on the cute selfie she’d sent him back. Vanderwood grumbled at himself. He was just being all around irritable.
It wasn’t long before she found something that just spoke to her. Cerise carried the item around until she came across a kiosk in the store. It was some kind of quick photo developer. She read the instructions to find out that it operated via Bluetooth once a fee was paid. Her eyes lit up. That would be perfect. She began to look through her gallery to decide what she wanted when her phone pinged again.
Cerise read the message and laughed a little. `Yeah, he’s pretty nice. 🙂 I’m just looking thru sum pix~` Okay, not a complete lie. She sent the text and then settled on developing the very first selfie they had taken together. It would look really good in a frame, she decided. After getting it developed – which was amazingly easy! – she picked out a nice frame and went to check out. Cerise was out the door and to her home again with no incident. Putting the stuff aside to mess with later, she took her boots off and plopped on her couch, scrolling through her notifications.
Oh, so that was why he’d asked about Fortun. Her friends back home must have missed her. She looked through the exchange between the two and grinned, not really realizing that her friend was being overly flirty. All her mind was focused on was, omigod, does Marion wanna dance with me? Cerise squealed and began to message him immediately. `Let’s dance 2gether sometime!! <3` She didn’t know the extent of what he knew, but something she had fantasized about was a nice slow dance between her and the person she loved. Now she was feeling absolutely giddy; she couldn’t help but to kick her legs in the air in excitement. Cerise didn’t even look at her other notifications; she had a picture to put in a frame!
Pictures? He could imagine she had a lot to get through with as many as she took in one day. Vanderwood smiled and sent something back. `Guess I’ll do the same, since I miss you so much.` Cheesy, nice, but he wasn’t wrong. It was pleasant for him to look through the pictures they had together, not that they had so many, but each one carried a memory. The only problem was always when he got to her shower selfie and the wink.
Their latest picture together didn’t bring up the cleanest memories either. Vanderwood could see the marks he’d left on her and subsequently the one she’d made on him. His fingers brushed lightly over the spot, but by now it had faded away. He’d need a new…his phone pinged with a text. As he went to open it, he was blushing like an idiot, somewhat happy to have been interrupted, since his mind had been about to wander. Now he read her text and realized she must have finally seen her notifications, or at least the dancing.
Shit…he’d gotten jealous and offered to dance with her. That was not the best of his ideas. The only dancing he’d ever done was a forced middle school shuffle. Vanderwood had used to go to the school dances just because it was better than being at home, and he’d stand in the corner. Sometimes girls or teachers had still insisted he dance. Incidentally, this was also how he ended up with his first kiss at 16 and promptly denying the girl. Yeah…dancing…good times. Still. It had been his idea, and now she was probably beyond excited. `Whenever you want mon amour. You will have to teach me.` What had he signed up for?
Maybe now she was replying to her other notifications, so Vanderwood decided to go back to scrolling, but he didn’t see anything. Bloody Hell, she must have been really excited. He came across a photo from another one of her friends that he’d added simply because of Fakebook friend suggestions. Adding her friends had been a mistake, because that meant a bunch of people he had no idea how close they were to her were on his ‘wall’, but this one must be a little closer, because she seemed to be having a fight with Fortun in the comments now. Good. He deserved a fight.
The woman had posted a before and after picture of her haircut. It looked stupid, too, asymmetrical, completely annoying. Her status that accompanied it said, `Single feels good! Got a haircut #goodbyedeadweight` Vanderwood was glad Cerise wasn’t cutting her hair, because he loved that beautiful long hair. Even if it took forever to keep up with, she looked amazing with it, and running his fingers through it was always a highlight of his day…if he wasn’t digging his fingers into it for other reasons.
Cerise finished putting the picture in the frame and placed a cute bow on it for a finishing touch. A little girly, but she had no doubt that he would like it. She had also picked up his very own pillow. Of course, she was the one who adored pillows, but she had figured that if he had to be surrounded by them all the time, he might as well have one that he could call his own. It was a large leopard printed one; if he would choose for that pattern to be in his jacket, then he must like it. What’s more was that it was incredibly soft, and she was almost jealous that he was going to be the one to get to cuddle with it. He was lucky she loved him so much.
She was so into her project that she hadn’t noticed her phone until she took her spot on the couch again. The noise she made upon reading his text was almost inhuman. She was going to get to teach him! Cerise could only imagine it and how romantic and completely adorable it would be. He’d taught her how to shoot a gun; she could teach him how to dance with her. It was the perfect exchange in her mind. They could both lend each other a little something that they were good at.` the student bcomes the teacher~ u better b rdy ;)` Maybe she would put together a routine just for him. Would he even like that?
Once Cerise was able to finally calm down a little, she went back to her notifications. Fortun had posted an outfit and wanted to send it to her? Now that she thought about it…she hadn’t given her friends her new address. She ended up privately messaging him, giving him her address, asking him to share it with her other friends as well. Fortun didn’t message back right away, so she decided to look at her friend’s accounts to see what they were up to.
It wasn’t long before Cerise found out that Anette had dumped Fortun again. That wasn’t really a big deal to her; they would always end up back together anyways. They always were a rather odd couple, but they did suit each other, in her opinion. Then she came across her best friend’s new haircut. Originally, Anette’s hair was rather long…not longer than her own, but pretty long still. Now it was so much shorter than it had originally been, and it looked so amazing on her. Not really paying attention to the fighting going on in the comments, she dropped her own. `omg!!! that looks soooo good on u! #killingit`
Cerise ran a hand through her own hair now. She hadn’t really cut it besides shaping her fringe or trims since she was little, so…maybe it was time to take the plunge and chop it off? The only reason she’d even grown out her hair was because of her uncle Emil, but change was good, and short was in. Sounded like a good idea to her. She went through her instafram and searched for short hairstyles. “Pixie cut, huh?” That sounded cute, looked cute…she could totally pull it off. Plus, it was shorter than her friend’s hair was.
She didn’t know how many pictures she hearted before it began to become late. “Oh…crap.” Cerise needed to get in the shower and get to bed if she was going to get up early enough to surprise her fiancé. After getting that shower, doing her nightly skin care routine, and getting ready for bed, she sent Marion a few good night texts and a selfie or two before she was asleep. She might have decided to cuddle up to the pillow she’d bought him. So soft…
Surprisingly, Cerise woke up before her alarm went off. She grabbed for her phone and checked the time. Okay, so it was only about thirty minutes before it was going to go off anyways; she would live. Besides, she was way too excited to go back to sleep. Marion would be coming back to her today.
Cerise hopped out of bed and ran to the bathroom to go through her morning routine of moisturizers, exfoliation, brushing her teeth. She didn’t bother to style her hair, because she was just going to cut it all off anyways. After setting the gifts she was going to give him out on the coffee table in the living room and neatly arranging them, she went off searching for a pair of household scissors. Any scissors would work, right? All of them cut, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
She connected her phone to some bluetooth speakers she had and turned on some music as she watched a few video tutorials. It didn’t look too hard; she would totally be able to pull it off. There was really no reason to get dressed yet, since she didn’t want hair all over her clean clothes, so she just stayed in her pajamas. Giggling as she put down the phone, she picked up the scissors. Marion was going to be so surprised; she couldn’t wait to see the look on his face. “Here goes nothing~”
He woke up way too early. Vanderwood grumbled, not able to fall back asleep, of course. It would have been much easier if he was with Cerise. After getting up for his morning run, he decided to waste some more time on social media. It looked like Cerise had been ‘hearting’ a lot of short haircuts since last night. That was weird. Her text last night had been the last thing he’d read before falling off into a fitful sleep, and he didn’t see a reason to respond since he would see her soon, but damn it made him blush like an idiot.
Vanderwood sighed and checked the time again. Still early, but…he missed her. She would probably still be sleeping when he got there, but that was fine. He could just let himself in, and then her food would be ready when she did wake up. Cerise wouldn’t mind him showing up out of the blue since she was expecting him later in the day, anyway, right?
As Vanderwood got to the apartment, he could hear loud music from outside of the door, meaning she had to be up and either dancing or doing chores. He knocked and rang the doorbell but got no response. After trying the door, he found…it was unlocked. That better have been intentional. He walked in, calling out her name to again no response. There were some things on the table, a leopard print pillow and a framed picture…their picture with a bow on it. Cerise had apparently been up to more than she’d let on the day before, but he could hardly be mad. Although, he was pretty interested to know why the door was unlocked and the music so loud she wouldn’t hear an intruder.
Where on Earth was she? The music was starting to give him a headache, too. It was far too loud for his damaged ears. Vanderwood checked every room before finally pushing at the bathroom door and there she was with scissors to her hair. He reached out to grab her wrist, stopping whatever it was she was up to. “What on Earth are you doing?” His voice was loud, trying to speak over the music. Was she really trying to cut her hair with house scissors? Why was she doing that in the first place?
Cerise squeaked when he grabbed her, causing her to drop the scissors. She hadn’t heard him come in. How did he even get in? He probably had a key…or picked the lock…either of those made sense for him. “I erm…decided to cut my hair? To surprise you?” Cerise laughed nervously, talking a little louder than normal so he could hear her over her music. “I looked up tutorials, so it’s going to turn out so cute!” She looked up to him a little sheepishly, “Surprise?” Now Cerise grabbed her phone to turn off her music with her other hand, so she could talk to him a little better. “How’d you get in, anyways? Do you have a key?”
Oh, thank fuck, the music was off, but now his eyebrow was twitching. “I don’t have a key.” So that settled that. “You didn’t lock your door. Anyone could have walked in here.” Just the thought of it was enough to make him want to move in right this second, but that wasn’t reasonable. Her response was a simple, “Oops.” Well, at least nobody did. But if someone really truly wanted to get in, wouldn’t they find a way? Cerise was pretty sure she’d locked the door the night Drawl got in. The thought made her shudder, and she pushed the memory to the back of her mind
He hadn’t even touched on the hair thing yet. It was one big ball of irritating in the morning. Vanderwood loved her hair, absolutely loved it. All the pictures she had liked. Is that what it was about? “You look cute with your hair the way it is, Cerise. I love it long.” He reached out to run his hand through her hair, deciding to bite his tongue on the door subject for now, at least until he was sure she wouldn’t take scissors to her hair the second he turned his back. “If you really want to get it cut short, I’ll pay for a professional. You definitely can’t use these.” He bent over to pick up the house scissors and place them on the sink. Granted, he would cut her hair himself but hers needed to be perfect unlike when he’d used to cut Seven’s and was just trying to make it even.
Marion’s words made her blush, a blush which only got brighter when he’d run his hand through her hair. She had to admit, the feeling of his hand in her hair was soothing and made her heart flutter. Could she really experience that with such short hair? Moreover, he said he loved it long. “Okay…I won’t cut it. Since you love it so much~” His opinion was worth so much more than those of strangers on the Internet. If he liked her hair the way it was, she liked it, too. Besides, there was so much more you could do with hair as long as hers was, even though it was a pain to take care of. “You’re just gonna have to help me more often when I wash it.” She smiled at him brightly, her sing-song tone making her words lilt.
There was a little shock of victory at her deciding not to cut it. What else would he pull in bed? Okay, not a thought to be having. With as many pictures as she’d liked of short hair, maybe he should have expected this? Was this what it was going to be for the rest of his life? A life of ‘Oh, Bloody Hell, Cerise, don’t do that?’ To whatever trend she was liking at the time? He looked at her for a moment. Yes, it was…but it was worth it.
He only now realized he hadn’t responded to her suggestion of helping her wash it, blush evident in his cheeks. “Yes, right…gladly…breakfast time?” Bloody fucking Hell, he needed breakfast after a morning already so busy. “I’ll make whatever you want this morning…since you got me those gifts.” In the ruckus, he’d almost forgotten about the gifts she’d set out for him. His face was starting to turn a darker red. “Um…thank you…for those, by the way. I saw them already.”
Right, the presents. There had been so much chaos that she’d forgotten, too. “You’re welcome…I erm…I hope you like them.” She really hadn’t meant for him to see them just yet, but oh well. Time to think about food. “Whatever I want?” Her tone lilted even more, and then she had to think for a moment. What sounded good to her? “How about yo— PANCAKES. I WANT PANCAKES.” Oh, dear God, that was a good save. What even?? She began to fidget with her hair, hiding her face behind it. Oh, right. She couldn’t save face if she had short hair. It was great that he’d stopped her before she could make such a bad decision.
What had she been trying to say? Vanderwood was trying to piece it together but decided to just leave it be, not wanting to tire himself out more. “Pancakes it is, then.” Bloody Hell, he loved this excitable woman. It took him a moment to realize she was hiding her face from him with her hair, and a massive blush becoming noticeable on her face as she made a move to kiss his hand. That was when it dawned on him that she’d almost said, ‘You,’ and he almost died choking on air.
Cerise nearly dropped his hand but placed the kiss on his palm quickly first. She was internally screaming. That choking noise meant he had realized…oh God. Cerise couldn’t just say those things, not to him. He was a recovering sex addict, and stuff like that didn’t help in his recovery at all when he was frustrated. Stupid filter not working. Stupid her and her hormones. Vanderwood swallowed hard. Alright, they needed to get out of that bathroom and get him cooking before his imagination went nuts with all the ways she could have him for breakfast. Okay, no. Stop.
He held the door to the bathroom open and indicated for her to leave first, heading off to the kitchen after she was out and starting on the pancakes. Cerise was out of that bathroom so fast and decided to busy herself on her computer until food would be ready, leaving him to cook in peace. That at least made it easier. He made a good amount, probably more than they were going to eat, but warmed up pancakes weren’t so bad and meant she would have something proper to eat if he had to leave her place again. Vanderwood’s mind was thankfully well occupied with this task and didn’t wander.
As soon as he was finished, he set the plates on the table, grabbing some maple syrup and fruits after that to place there, too. “Breakfast time.” Damn, sometimes he was a real housewife type…but breakfast looked great, so whatever. She jumped away from her computer, heading to him when he’d called out and checking the table. Whoa did it look good. Something was missing though…Cerise padded over to the fridge and took out a can of whipped cream before sitting down in her seat. “This looks so yummy!” She praised him before she turned the can upside down and proceeded to put what seemed like nearly half of it onto the top of her pancakes before drizzling it with maple syrup. “Perfect~” Cerise admired his (and her?) handiwork before happily digging in.
He had wondered what he’d missed when she went to the fridge, and he tried not to cringe. That was about as unhealthy as it could get. In fact, it was a miracle he’d even bothered to bring out the maple syrup, preferring the healthier choice of fruits for what was not the healthiest of breakfasts. Ever since he’d been with Cerise, his meals weren’t quite as carefully managed and planned out, but he didn’t mind. He just worked out a little harder, and oh holy shit, how long had she been putting whipped cream on those pancakes?
It was like a mountain of fluff. That was even further from healthy. How was she even as thin as she was? Vanderwood just kind of nodded at the praise she’d given before deciding to address the mountain of cream. “You…want some pancakes with that?” Okay, maybe a little bit of an asshole comment, but at least he hadn’t meant it as an insult. Vanderwood sighed and dug into his own, the strawberries a good addition for a pop of flavor.
Cerise just kind of stared at him for a moment in mid-chew before swallowing it and narrowing her eyes. “…want some smily-o’s for that attitude?” She retorted, before shoving more of the overly sweet breakfast in her mouth. Vanderwood had accepted her response as fair, although it did make him snort and nearly choke on a strawberry.
Luckily for Cerise, she had an amazing metabolism…and maybe not so luckily, because that was probably contributing to her lack of boobs, too. Maaaaybe she could…implants! Of course. Cerise dropped everything she was doing and began searching on her phone. It couldn’t be that expensive, right? Why hadn’t she thought of this sooner? She was a goddamn genius.
Almost as soon as he’d gone back to eating, Cerise was on her phone again. What was more important than breakfast? Vanderwood peeked over to see what she was up to, naturally curious when it came to her. What. the. fuck. Was his fiancée looking at implants and false-breasted ladies? Bloody Hell. What the fuck was his life? “Cerise…what are you doing?”
It didn’t seem right to just mention that he’d seen it, and it would be nice to have his suspicions confirmed before his eyebrow started with morning exercises again. How many times did he have to tell her that he preferred her just the way she was? Besides, implants were just…Vanderwood actually shuddered a little. They were awful, in his opinion, just awful. More than once he’d had sex with a woman who had them, and every time, he couldn’t bear to touch them – the separation between the true breast tissue and the plastic was too obvious for him or his OCD to handle.
Without looking up, Cerise simply replied with, “Research. ” It didn’t take long for her to find an ‘enter your email for more info’ box, giving her email happily. Finally! A beautifully busty bosom would be hers! Honestly, she should have thought of this sooner. Wouldn’t she be so much cuter is she had curves in all the right places? Well…namely, her chest. She was okay with her bottom and wasn’t as lacking in that department. Once she requested more info, she put her phone down and continued eating again. Man, this stuff was good, and she finished it relatively quickly.
Great. Vanderwood wanted to slap his hand to his face. She wasn’t being forthcoming. He watched as she put her phone away, waiting as she was finishing her pancakes. “What kind of research?” This was not shaping up to be the greatest morning of his life. If he had to, he would just have to hack her phone to check. He was nowhere near as fast as Seven, but he did know how. “I’d like to know. Maybe I could help?” By convincing you not to get implants. The inner thought thankfully stayed inner.
God, he hated those things, they were just so…lifelessly plastic. Their appearance as well as the way they felt, just no. Not on his Cerise. She was absolutely beyond perfect physically, no modification needed. Alright, so again maybe not a good thought to have, but, yeah. “If it’s anything important…I feel like I should know, as your fiancé.” The fiancé card, not a bad one to pull. Bloody Hell, just let her tell him already, so he could deal with the problem. His eyebrow was having a grand old time.
“It’s a surprise for my fiancé. You’ll find out soon enough~” He was going to absolutely love the new look! One time she had imageshopped a picture of herself to have a large chest, and she had to admit, it was pretty great. She looked at him, and the giant grin she’d had on her face turned to an expression of confusion. “Something wrong…?” Cerise had by now noticed that when he was getting irritated, his eyebrow would twitch. So, Marion was obviously irritated about something. Maybe not knowing what the surprise was…was getting to him?
If…she could give him a little hint, would he feel better? He was a former secret agent, so he would be happy with small clues, right? “Okay, okay. I’ll give you a hint, because you’re so cute. So, calm that eyebrow!” Cerise scooted closer to him with her chair, the grin now back on her face as he covered his eyebrow. “Okay, so you know how a desert is barren and flat and generally unpleasant? But on a mountain, it’s so huge and beautiful, and life flourishes? People go sight-seeing in the mountains…take vacations there. Well…I wanna be a mountain, you know? Nobody wants to take a hike through the desert, Marion.”
His eyebrow only moved harder under his hand when she’d started talking. He almost felt like he was talking to Seven, and he did not need that this morning, or ever. Would it be too obvious if he claimed he knew now? She seemed so damn happy that he almost felt bad with the fact he had to tell her that her idea was idiotic, but that’s what it was. How did she make big decisions like that on a whim anyway? Cerise was a product of her generation, obviously.
“I don’t want mountains, Cerise. Let alone a man-made one. I would far rather walk through the desert.” Now he was the one scooting closer, and it was a bad idea, but he had to illustrate his point. Vanderwood pulled her into his lap and hugged her tightly, letting her body be flush against his as he turned his head to murmur in her ear. “Mountains would only keep us apart…” She remained quiet, tensing slightly as she was completely and utterly trying not to die. She hadn’t expected him to figure out so fast or react like this – pulling her into his lap…he didn’t even seem to be done. How would she survive?
It was ridiculous to Vanderwood how hard it was to resist nibbling on her ear, but he bit down on his tongue hard before letting her go to pull back and catch her eyes. “You’re perfect the way you are.” His hands found her face. So, he was pretending he was the world’s greatest detective, but anything to make sure she didn’t try to do something stupid…for the second time today. “That sensitivity of yours…a lot of that would go away because of surgery, and I would miss it. Not to mention how much the cold feel of mountains is just…”
Maybe it was better he didn’t tell her how much he hated that feeling, because he’d have to admit how much he’d touched a pair of fake breasts. She didn’t like to hear about that shit, and he couldn’t blame her. He wouldn’t like to talk about it either. Vanderwood mentally slapped himself to keep talking instead of looking dumb. “I love your desert. I love you, and I want this body, not anyone else’s.” His hands lightly squeezed her sides before, yes, he needed her out of his lap now. He carefully shuffled her back to her own chair. Bloody Hell, his face was redder than his forgotten strawberries.
Cerise Couldn’t even make a response. The way he’d pulled her into his lap, murmured in her ear, squeezed her sides, the little twitch of something appearing in his pants…Pancakes. She needed more pancakes. Good thing he’d made so many, because she was about to eat the shit out of them. “I…yes. Breakfast…pancakes, need more…yeah.” Crap. Why couldn’t she just be a normal human being? Cerise piled more pancakes onto her plate and sat down, foregoing the whipped cream because, Jesus, she needed to stay occupied for the moment.
Vanderwood felt like he was dying as much as she was. It was time to get back to the food. He noticed that she didn’t put more whipped cream on. They were both dying. It had been a bold move on his part, one that left him blushing like an idiot where for others it would not, but hopefully she got the gist now and wasn’t going to go onwards with…mountains. His eyebrow twitched just a little as he ate in silence. What a morning…was it going to be calm for the rest of the day, then? Probably not. His eyebrow was fine now, but, right, she’d be teaching him to dance. That would probably be awkward and irritating, too. Yeah…his life with her was special.
Every so often, Cerise would glance at him, noticing that his eyebrow was still twitching just a little. Okay, so…he definitely didn’t like the idea of her getting implants. He’d made that perfectly clear. Her heart fluttered a little at the thought of him liking her just the way she was, even if she didn’t have a sizable chest or amazing curves. She really did feel lucky.
Cerise finished the rest of her pancakes and noticed that he had finished, too before she dared to actually speak up again, happy to actually find her voice coming through and not some weird strangled gurgling or something. “Marion…were you serious about what you said? You know…dancing with me? I erm…don’t expect you to be able to do what I can or anything, but…” Why was she being all flustered? Where was all that God-given confidence? “…I thought maybe we could try…something really easy? Like…slow dancing–just one song!” Cerise was back to hiding her face in her hair, bringing her hand up to fidget with the fringe.
He had pretty much zoned-out after finishing his food, her voice bringing him out of his little self-induced trance. Vanderwood had watched her as she was fumbling around with her words. She was…surprisingly flustered, and then when she mentioned the dancing, he understood why. It was obviously a very big deal to her, not something he should have offhandedly commented, and that was why his discomfort about it didn’t matter. He couldn’t back out now and hurt her. “Yeah…yeah, that’s fine…just uh…I’ve only ever done the middle school shuffle. If you even know what that is…”
Did the middle school shuffle exist in either Korea or France? Hell if he knew, but dancing a slow song with the love of his life, maybe he could get into that idea. “One song is fine…” Vanderwood felt the cheesy comment coming on, but he was powerless to stop it, “or a hundred, I don’t care. I just want to dance with you.” Well. He’d cursed himself to a lifetime of dancing. At least Cerise would be happy. Knowing that he would be dancing with her…maybe he would end up enjoying it, too.
“Middle school what…?” She tilted her head and looked at him in confusion. Was that a dance move British people were taught? He didn’t sound so confident, whatever it was. Her face lit back up though at his subsequent offer. Of course, she knew that he was just being cheesy, but she was happy that he would at least dance with her for one song. Really, she had never slow danced before, but…she knew the theory behind it.
Fortun had once invited her to slow dance with him, which she promptly rejected. To her, that was something that someone should only seriously do with the person they were dating…or in her case, getting married to. Maybe it was a little silly of her, but there was a difference between being close to someone when you danced and being close to someone. Cerise had had crushes before that she would imagine it with, but she – of course – had never asked. So, he would again be her first, and she would be his, too – for once. That seemed perfect to her.
He realized that he’d been right that the term didn’t translate for her. “Middle school shuffle. Here…I’ll show you.” Vanderwood stood and reached for her hand to help her up. If he wanted her to wrap her arms around his neck, he’d have to bend over, but instead he just put her hands on his shoulders and placed his hands on her hips. It felt ridiculous. Her fingertips were just over his shoulders and there wasn’t a lot of space between the table and the couch. “Just kinda…um….” Vanderwood took a small step to the side and pushed on her hip to get her to do the same before repeating it, shuffling back and forth. “It’s lame…and you’d get in trouble if you got any closer than this.” There was practically space enough for another person between them.
His fiancée’s noses had scrunched up, signaling she really wasn’t a fan and it wasn’t long before he was explaining himself. “I went to a few dances in middle school and high school just to get out of the house. Though I mostly watched from the sidelines, the teachers would force me to dance with the girls sitting without anyone.” Vanderwood realized he was still holding her hips, having shuffled a little closer to her naturally, because he didn’t like space between them. Now he let go, his face bright red as he rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. “So…that’s my dancing experience…teach me to dance?”
Cerise made a little frown at the story, shrugging it off a moment later as he asked her to teach him again. The dance itself wasn’t so bad. It was actually kind of cute and simple. Her disappointment was mostly with the teachers he’d talked about and the idea of being forced to stay apart. It wasn’t that big of a deal with her that he’d danced with others before her after all, really. At least she got the honors of being the one he wanted to dance with, and that made her feel all warm and fuzzy. “Dancing is dancing, mon amour. There’s no right or wrong way.” Cerise thought she could actually use that ‘shuffle’ to her advantage. Marion didn’t look all that confident. “If you say so.”
She grinned and led him to the other side of the living room where there was more space. It was early still, for her anyway, but she was just so excited that she couldn’t help it. This was happening now. Cerise moved things around for some more space, Marion watching her seemingly as though he was at a complete loss as she found a rather soft Playlist on a music app – louder stuff always bothered his ears. “We’re gonna start with that shuffle thing and advance from there~” At least with that, it would help him become more comfortable, and she figured it would help him pick up a rhythm faster. “I’ll lead for now.” She beamed up at him before all but yanking him to her, opting for more closeness than he had shown her. No doubt he was nervous, but even that was somehow fun for her.
Vanderwood’s face turned about as red as it could get as she pulled him close. He hadn’t been expecting it at all, but followed along, thankful for his reflexes – otherwise there would have been no way she could have done it with his low center of gravity. Then again, it was Cerise. She seemed to figure out how to do everything he thought was impossible. At first, he just felt so…weird. it was nice being close but, he had no idea what he was doing. Even following her, all he could think was, What do I do next?
Cerise could clearly tell how tense he was. She needed to figure out what could help him to relax. This was the part he knew, but he was still so incredibly stiff and rigid. It was like when she’d tried to play with her plastic fashion dolls when she was a kid. That only made her giggle, though. Whether he was getting the hang of things or not, she just enjoyed that she got to be close to him. “Don’t focus on how you’re going to move your body. Listen to the music and let it help.”
Her comment and giggle relaxed him some, but it was going to take a bit. Once she felt he was slightly more comfortable with things, despite how rigid he was, she moved on to something that resembled dancing a little more. Baby steps. Cerise showed him where to position his hands before she tried to lead them again. He was so incredibly out of his element, and she couldn’t help but laugh more.
The more Cerise got him to do, the more Vanderwood felt himself relax, starting to enjoy himself – well, enjoy the moment of being close to her. These little moments…they were things he’d thought he could never have, and now he had them. Cerise had the sneaking suspicion that Marion was enjoying himself a little more now; he was certainly a lot less stiff. Over a little time, she felt herself leading him a little less and relinquishing it on him without him realizing.
At some point, Vanderwood just got completely lost in her eyes – those beautiful honey-gold eyes. It was almost like being in a trance. He bent his head to give her a kiss, slow and sweet like the music. Cerise had been thinking he was actually doing rather well for being so out of his element, and then before she knew it he was kissing her. How could a kiss feel like music? She didn’t know, but he had managed it. It was amazing. Her heart felt as though it was swelling, her body warm as time didn’t seem to exist.
The music stopped or switched, Vanderwood wasn’t sure, but he broke the kiss – the trance breaking along with it. “Sorry…I uh…zoned out…a little bit.” How long had they even been dancing? Vanderwood felt sure he’d at least managed a good bit without being too utterly ridiculous. He hadn’t stepped on her, so that was a win – even if he did zone out at the end. Cerise just stared up at him a little speechless.
It took her a minute to catch up with the fact that he had spoken. Words were a thing, and she should use them. Sound it out, girl. “It’s…that’s okay. You did so well.” She had gotten to dance with her fiancé, and she was so overjoyed – and a little emotional. Cerise moved closer to embrace him as little tears welled in her eyes, happy that the moments they had were theirs and theirs alone to share. “Thank you, Marion.” Even if the rest of the day was normal and boring, that’d be okay with her. They’d had enough excitement that morning, and it wasn’t even noon yet.
His arms wrapped around her tightly on impulse, her praise making his face turn completely red. Vanderwood loved these little moments, probably a lot more than he should. Just another good memory to accompany all the bad. “You’re welcome shortcake…let’s maybe do this again sometime?” He wasn’t about to admit that he’d loved it. In a way, he already had, and he would be lying if he didn’t concede that he would be making a status later about dancing with his fiancée – hoping Fortun would see it and seethe. Was he a bit of an asshole? Yes, he was, but Fortun was the one trying to encroach on his relationship.
If he ever met Fortun in person, Vanderwood had a feeling that asshole side of him wouldn’t be so much a side as a wall. Vanderwood pressed a kiss to the top of Cerise’s head before he let go. “I should put away the pancake stuff.” She just grabbed right onto him again, not ready for the moment to end. He really wasn’t either. As irritating as the morning had been, it had ended up turning out for the better…best. It always seemed to be that way with Cerise. That was just part of why she was so worth it all. Even though sometimes he wished she would just cut it out with some of her antics. Maybe that was a bad choice of words, because he sure was happy she hadn’t cut off her hair.
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