I kissed a girl, and I liked it... the taste of her cherry chap stick.
It was mid-afternoon on a Thursday, and the quiet scuffle of papers being shuffled, sorted, and stacked into separate piles was a steady noise out in the Vice Minister's mansion gardens. If anyone were around to hear it, that person would assume it was the minister herself hard at work, devouring one of several stacks of documents, declarations, and letters needing her attention. If such a curious person was able to by-pass security, and make it to the hedges, and this person was able to peer over the bushes blocking that particular corner of the residential garden, curiosity would be rewarded by seeing two young adults sitting close at a glass-top patio table. One a dark-haired young man, dressed in a uniform slacks, and a khaki button-up shirt, his sleeves rolled up on his forearms; the other a young woman, with long blonde hair pulled up in a high ponytail.
And if the curious person had believed it was the young woman sorting through the pile of paperwork sitting before her, that person would have been wrong. For it was the young man who was diligently looking through report folders containing documents, photos, and maps, sorting and compiling each piece into stacks he believed they belonged.
The young woman, on the other hand, chewed on her bottom lip. An executive pen held between the fingers of her right hand was twirled in an oddly absentminded action, and the mound of work she had her assistant bring to her outside, ignored, work she felt she could finish in the fresh air, since her office seemed far too stuffy that day for working.
"Heero," she said with a sigh, "What's it like to kiss a girl?"
A three-page report halted midair, and the young man turned his head slowly to regard his companion. "I don't know."
With a tiny frown marring her forehead, the girl turned her head. "You've never...?"
In one short shake of his head, her companion confirmed his inexperience. "I've never had the inclination."
Her lips pursed and trapped air was blown in his direction with a put-put-put noise. "You have kissed before, haven't you?"
Now it was Heero's turn to frown. "You've been spending too much time with Duo."
"And you don't?" Her mouth turned upward in humor. "Tell me what it's like to kiss someone of the same sex." She set her pen aside, and leaned her head to rest temple to palm, watching Heero's expressions change in rapid display before hardening.
"I will not speak of my personal life." He turned from her, and went back to sorting his papers again.
Relena lingered in watching him, knowing full well he was completely aware of her scrutiny. The skin just below the ear she could see was red, and she knew if she brushed his hair aside, his ears would be as well. Heero Yuy had learned to blush in the most discreet way.
"I'll just ask Duo," she said softly, smiling when Heero's hands faltered in their work.
"It's none of your business, Relena," Heero told her sharply. "Duo will not tell you either."
"Classified?" And she laughed lightly when he turned to roll his eyes at her. "Alright, no questions." She picked up her pen, and tried to focus her errant thoughts back to work. Minutes passed, and she was ready to give up work for the day; business as usual was as far from her ability as Earth was from L1.
She nearly jumped, startled at the sudden question. Confused, she looked at Heero for a moment before sense assured itself. "I've never kissed a girl either," she answered with a smile.
Heero jerked back in surprise, and she nearly laughed at his puzzled expression. "You... want to?"
Her humor leaked away, and looking away, she slumped into herself. "I don't know," she admitted quietly. His hand was warm and strong on her shoulder, and she canted her head to the side to see him regarding her with a warmth not often shown.
"I understand." And she knew he did. "You have ten minutes before your meeting with the Russian ambassador." His hand fell away, and he began gathering his neat stacks of papers.
Eyes widening, Relena rose abruptly. "Lara," she called loudly for her assistant and hurrying for her in suite office.
It was hours later, and Relena found herself in a small antechamber at the Russian Embassy. A brief respite from the formal dinner she could not forgo without insult, she sank onto the deep cushioned sofa, and leaned her head back, just to rest her eyes.
"Here ya go, Princess," her Preventers escort of the evening said, and she opened her eyes to see him holding a glass of ice water in one hand, and two tiny white pills in the other.
"Thank you!" she said gratefully. She swallowed the pills with a polite sip of water, wishing she could down the glass instead. It was cool and she held it to her face, closing her eyes again.
"I can have Heero fake an urgent matter needing your attention," Duo offered, taking a seat beside her.
"No," she told him quietly, willing the pills to work their magic, wishing the pain to subside soon. "I should have met with the ambassador last month, and he really does mean well." She heard a snort, and she smiled briefly at it. "He does, Duo."
"It's an attitude like that that'll have you hitched to that sniveling git of his."
She opened her eyes, and drank more water from her glass before turning to look at her escort. His face was still as boyish as it'd been when she first met him, though she could see now where the planes of his cheeks were beginning to narrow and thin. His hair was still long, and neatly plaited, but his bangs still fell in disheveled spikes over his forehead.
"People in position are always trying to set me up with their sons." She sipped from her glass again, and willed the frown from her expression. "I don't care for it, but it comes with being young, and single for this job."
"Better you than..." Duo left the sentence hanging.
"But, you're not so single, are you?" She thought the pills were beginning to work, for the fingers of pain seemed not to be clawing at her quite so much.
"Yeah, well... if I was available, I still wouldn't want people trying to set me up with every Tom, Dick and Mary."
It had to have been his misquote that caused her slip, for his use of a woman's name had her thinking back to her conversation that afternoon. The question popped out, and she bit her lip wanting to call it back.
"A girl?" Duo drew back, a baffled look on his face. "Well, uh, I guess it's nice. I mean, girls have soft lips. But, uh..." He screwed up his face and focused on her. "Why do you want to know?"
Her attention became riveted on the small ice chips swimming in the water left in her glass. "Curiosity," she answered slowly. "I wondered if there was a difference between a girl and a boy."
He was still staring at her with a half-scowl and a question behind his eyes. "You're working too hard," he finally declared. "You need to get out and have some fun - some teenage girl fun."
Relena flashed him a smile, and laughed softly. "That will quite possibly never happen," she stated, and handed him her glass. Rising, she added, "I believe our time is up, and we should return to our host."
Scrambling to his feet, Duo found an empty spot to leave the glass, and trailed behind her. "I mean it, Princess. You should get out more; enjoy something of life before it's over." Catching sight of the Ambassador emerging from his smoking room down the hall, he leaned closer to the minister and said in a low voice, "Or find yourself married to one of those gits."
She paused at his words, seeing the object of their disdain close on his father's heels knock over an urn table, and upsetting the vase setting on it. As it crashed to the floor, she said in a quiet aside, "Heero would never let me leave the house. And it would create a scandal to hold such an event at the residence."
"Let me handle Heero, and I've got a perfect place in mind," Duo assured her, keeping his voice low. "Leave it to me."
"If you can get Heero to agree, I'll be there," she promised with a wink, and began to walk briskly down the hall, ready for round two with dignitaries.
The phone rang minutes before lunch, and she almost ignored it. It had been a long morning, and the headache that had started the night before still hadn't let up. But, it was her private line, and only a small handful used that number. Stifling the exasperation wanting to surface, she picked up the handset.
Duo. "Good morning," she answered, putting a smile behind her words. Though she knew he wasn't there, her eyes automatically shot to the space Heero normally occupied while on duty. The agent assigned for the day glanced away from the window, and acknowledged her look with a brief nod.
"Feeling better after last night?" He sounded cheerful, and relaxed, and, just for that moment, Relena envied that of him.
"Better, but busy," she told him, knowing he'd pick up the hint.
"You're always busy, princess," he fired back. "That's why I'm calling. It's all set."
"What's all set?" She frowned slightly, waiting for his response.
"The party? Remember, we talked about it last night?"
"Oh," she exhaled the word, recalling her promise to be there if he accomplished what she thought was unobtainable. "And Heero...?"
"Agrees with me," Duo all but crowed. "Told ya to leave him to me."
"He can't deny you anything, is that it?" He actually had her smiling genuinely.
"It happens sometimes," he admitted. "Just not often, and he knows I'm usually right."
Relena picked up her pen and scooted a pad of paper closer. "So, this... party? Where and when?"
"Tomorrow at eight, and someone will be there to pick you up - me or Heero, not sure yet," Duo supplied promptly. "Wear something casual, like a normal teenager. Jeans or something."
"Got it. Teenager costume." Her mouth turned up softly listening to him laugh. The headache was lifting.
"See you tomorrow, Princess," Duo was saying suddenly. "I gotta go."
"Until tomorrow, Duo." The line clicked off, and Relena hung up the phone slowly, wondering what she had in her closet fitting Duo's idea of 'teenage girl'.
Precisely at a quarter to eight, Heero arrived at the resident door. She had seen him in casual clothing many times over the two years he'd been her guard, but it never failed to startle her at how comfortable he looked. The dangerous edge of him exuded, but in his sneakers, jeans and light yellow short-sleeve, he appeared to be more rebel teenage boy than lethal weapon.
"So," she asked almost shyly, turning around slowly in the entrance hallway. "Do you think this will pass Duo's requirements?"
Heero's eyes went from head to feet, and he nodded. "It is acceptable."
"Acceptable?!" she demanded, tones nearly at screech level. "I'll have you know, I spent hours on this outfit. The hair alone took..." Her voice faded as Heero began to chuckle, the amusement clear in his expression. "You!" she cried, and slapped at his arm, but smiled all the same. "Let's go before you make me late."
"After you," he said, bowing formally, sweeping his arm out and to the side.
The drive was hardly a quiet one, as she asked question after question regarding the where and who and what was involved with Duo's Party. And she had come to think in those terms - in capital letters, with the emphasis on Duo.
That Heero barely answered her questions didn't surprise her. What had was learning the party was going to be held at his and Duo's apartment; that Duo had somehow managed to coerce his former pilots-in-arms to be there.
Too soon, Heero was pulling into the complex garage, coming to a stop in his assigned slot, and shutting down his car. Public appearances were a way of life for Relena, but the sudden stage fright had her clutching Heero's arm, trimmed manicured nails digging into the muscle there. Even facing a convention hall full of delegates from every country and colony in the Earth Sphere hadn't given her the butterflies facing the door to her friend's apartment was.
"Relax," Heero told her softly. "You know most of everyone here."
She took a deep breath and wiped a palm on the leg of her jeans. "Okay, I'm ready." Heero only laughed softly, and opened the door.
"Lena!" Duo shouted from the other side of the room. He made his way closer, even as Heero pulled her inside, and shut the door behind them. "Glad you could come." He was grinning, reaching for her arm with eyes promising mischief.
"Wouldn't miss your party for the world," she told him smiling, letting him take her wrist and guide her farther into the apartment.
"Hey look who's here," Duo announced loudly to the room. "It's Lena!"
"Lena?" she murmured, tugging on her arm. Nicknames weren't something given to her. She was always Minister Darlian, or Miss Relena. Duo was the only one to call her something other than her given name or position title. But, Lena?
Through the chorus of hellos and welcomes, Duo was dragging her through the main room and into what passed for a kitchen. The countertop was filled with bowls and plates of snack food, drink paraphernalia, and a blender half-filled with a red slush.
"What's your poison?" Duo was asking, handing her a paper plate with daisies edging its border, and filling it with chips, dips, crackers, and cheese.
"Poison?" Relena asked, returning half the items he'd given her.
"Well, we have all the makings of a teenage bash - beer in a pony keg, strawberry daiquiri, rum and coke, and... yeah," he hefted a bottle filled with a purple liquid to peer at the label. "Grape Pucker."
Her nose crinkled. "That looks vile."
Duo glanced at it again. "Never had it, so dunno. But I hear it's supposed to be good."
She looked over the assorted drinks and their mixers, wondering if she could get away with asking for water or a cola. "What are you drinking?"
"Beer," he answered promptly, smirking.
"Oh." She managed to keep her nose from crinkling again. Beer was one beverage she couldn't imagine herself imbibing, the smell alone made her queasy. "What's a daiquiri?"
Pulling the plastic carafe from the blender base, Duo sloshed the contents. "Strawberries, lime grenadine, rum, and lots of ice."
"I'll have that," she told him, relieved that the drink seemed simple and less potent than the other choices.
"Excellent choice," he said, whipping out a glass and dunking it rim-side down on a small plate of sugar. "One Maxwell Strawberry Daiquiri, coming up!" Rim coated, he poured the glass full of the slush, topped the lip with a red strawberry, and presented it to Relena with a flourish. "There you go."
Relena took a tentative sip, and found it refreshing if a little sweet with the sugared rim. "It's good," she told the watching Duo.
"Alright, then. Time to get this party started." And he was ushering her back out into the main room, leading her about by the elbow, introducing her to people she already knew, if only by name.
Before her drink was finished, she had the idea on why he was so insistent on calling her 'Lena' and pretending as though she weren't known to all present. She was after all, supposed to be acting as though she were a 'regular' teenage, someone other than the Foreign Vice-Minister. Accepting a second daiquiri before her first was quite finished, she found herself learning steps to a dance most of her 'friends' would be appalled to watch.
Taking another large swallow, she licked the sugar from the glass's edge, and set it aside for the moment. The music was starting, and Trowa had his hands on her hips, showing how to move in time to his gyrations. Never had a boy held her in such a way, and she rather liked it. From the corner of her eye, she spotted Heero watching her, even though he was dancing with Duo. She looked at him for a moment, and gave him a smile, letting him know she was fine and okay with what was happening.
A cluck of a tongue had her looking up at Trowa. Without saying a word, the man said so much with the flick of his eyes, a raised brow, and a twist of his lips.
"Once a bodyguard, always a bodyguard?" she quipped, and was rewarded with a laugh. Trowa pulled her close, and any thought she might have had flew away.
Slinky, sensual, and more sexual than she'd ever danced, his hands ghosted down her arms, over her rear and back to frame her face. His hips swayed from side to side, and thrust forward on every downbeat. She was left clinging to his shoulders, heat climbing up her neck and into her cheeks.
Must be the drink, she whispered in her mind, and let go to mimic his actions on her own.
The song ended, and the random player shifted to something slow, sweetly lyrical. Quatre was there, with an apologetic smile to pull his lover from her arms, and take her place. 'Lena' went back to her drink, and downed half its contents, watching them.
"Dance with me?"
Another pilot, another Preventers agent. Relena nodded, and nearly dropped her glass to the floor setting it down. Wufei didn't say anything, but took the hand she offered, and led her to the cleared space, pulled her closer, and began the shuffling steps to a slow dance.
Off on their right, she could see Trowa and Quatre dancing together, arms wrapped in a tight embrace. Nearby, she watched Duo pause in mid-step to press a kiss to Heero's neck, and receive a look in return. It was a lover's dance, and this upright, proper boy of an agent was anything but her lover. But, lover or not, 'Lena' would still enjoy herself in it. Giving in to temptation, Relena lowered her head to rest on Wufei's shoulder, hiding the smile at the start he gave, and circled her arms around his neck. Minister Darlian would never deign to act thus, but Lena would.
A little over two hours passed, and Lena was in the kitchen learning how to make a Maxwell Strawberry Daiquiri. The fruit added, and she clicked the button, learning too late that the lid should have been added first. But she was laughing along with Duo, and didn't care that her new 'teenage girl' blouse was spotted with unmixed daiquiri.
"You have some here," a light female voice said, followed by an index finger swiping across her cheek.
Relena spun around in time to see Hilde stick her finger to her lips, and lick. Somewhere between a gasp and a sigh, her mouth parted, her tongue mirrored Hilde's, and her eyes continued to watch as Hilde's finger was sucked. "Thank you," she managed, jerking her eyes up.
"Any time." Hilde grinned, and reached past Relena to press the power off on the blender. "I think it's done."
"Done?" Relena repeated, head turning to the girl standing so close to her.
"Daiquiri?" Hilde was looking at her now, her mouth curved up in a light smile. "You wanted another one, right?"
"Oh, yes, I did." She backed away only to hit the cabinet behind her, and ducked her head. Suddenly red and flushed, she knew it had little to do with drinking and everything to do with red lips and the taste of strawberries on them.
Hilde laughed softly, and poured frozen daiquiris in the two waiting glasses. "Here," she said with a wink. "Let's go have some fun."
"Hey!" Duo protested. "What about this mess?"
Taking Relena's hand, Hilde tossed over her shoulder as they were leaving, "It's your fault for neglecting all the steps in daiquiri making."
"Maybe I should..." Relena paused in the doorway, looking back at Duo rinsing out a washcloth.
"No you shouldn't," Hilde told her firmly, pushing her out of the kitchen, and back into the main room. "Duo's a big boy and he can handle a little splatter on his own."
"He is that, isn't he?" Lena stepped in with a laugh.
For a breath, Hilde's brows drew together, then she snorted. "Just don't let him hear you say that. He already thinks he's bigger than God."
"God-like penis complex?" Though she blushed hotly, she was grinning as Hilde choked on her drink.
"You did not just say that!"
She took a demure sip of her drink, and willed the blush from her cheeks. "I did, didn't I?"
Still chuckling, Hilde's arm circled Relena's waist, and she squeezed her tight. "You're alright, Lena. I like this side of you."
The music changed, the volume rose, and Hilde gave a loud whoop, setting her glass down on the nearest surface. She grabbed Relena's drink and dropped it down beside her own. "C'mon! MOSH time!" Hilde was yelling, louder than the song.
Her other hand was grabbed, and Duo was there. Lena was pulled out into the middle of the suddenly crowded open space, Hilde on one side, and Duo on the other. Imitating moves and gestures Hilde made, laughing at some of those Duo was making, from all sides, someone was moving, dancing, twisting, laughing, singing. She was bumped and held, spun about and repositioned. The dance was like nothing she'd participated in before - no partners, no choreographed steps, and it was the most fun she'd ever had.
Another drink, another dance, another hour passed. Relena was sitting in the middle of Heero and Duo's couch, holding a new drink, and twisting her lips around, running them along her teeth. They were tingly, almost numb and they felt funny.
"I think you've had enough of this," Duo said, plopping down beside her and snatching up her glass. She turned his way in slow motion, her mouth opening in protest as he drank what was left.
"Hey, that was mine."
"Not any more." Duo grinned, pulling a stray lock of her hair.
She grinned in return, and was instantly distracted by the feel of her lips against her teeth again. "Does my mouth look funny?" she asked, touching it with her fingertips.
"No," Duo said, drawing the word out slowly. "Why?" He was leaning over to peer at her from under his bangs.
"It feels funny." Her eyes crossed trying to see her lips, and she shook her head suddenly, breaking the look. Duo laughed, and she turned her gaze to him. "You have a penis complex," she told him seriously.
"Ah... what?" Duo gaped, blinked, and scooted back. "Now I know you've had enough to drink." He flicked his finger over one bright red stain. "You should have rinsed these out before they stained."
Her eyes followed his finger, and she made an agreeable noise. She smiled softly, thinking about the seconds following the accident. Lifting her head, she scanned the room. "Where's Hilde? She didn't leave, did she?"
"Nah, powder break, I think," Duo answered, looking around the room himself. "Maybe you should go wash your face, sober up some before Heero finds you a little more than tipsy."
"I should," Relena agreed immediately, nodding her head. She tried to stand, but sat back down with a whoosh. Duo chuckled, and stood, pulling her up with him.
"Think you can make it on your own?" His hand was still on her arm, holding her steady.
She nodded again, and stumbled, unbalanced. It was his hand and strength holding her upright, and she leaned into him for a moment. Taking a deep breath, she straightened.
"I'm good now," and was proud that her voice was steady. He released her slowly, and she managed to walk toward the hall entrance, the direction she knew where the bathroom to be.
The door was cracked open, and she pushed it wide. "Oh," she gasped. It was occupied, but Relena didn't look away, couldn't look away.
"I'm almost done in here," Hilde said, turning back to the mirror over the sink. "Come in, and keep me company."
"I came to wash my face," she murmured, making her feet move, and her hand shut the door behind her.
Hilde glanced her way, and moved aside. "There're clean washcloths in the closet there," she said pointing to the narrow door flush with the wall.
"Thanks." In a dream-like quality, Relena opened the cupboard, picked out a washcloth, and approached the sink. Hilde was leaning over the counter space, touching up her eye shadow, and Relena clutched the cloth watching her. "Your eyes are pretty."
The wand paused over a lid, and Hilde's eyes flicked in her direction, looking at her reflection in the mirror. "Thanks," she said softly, a quick smile on her lips. "Your eyes are pretty too, but you need to wear a darker shade of shadow to bring them out more." She finished the touch up, and turned to face Relena.
"I-I don't..." Relena flushed and dropped her eyes. She reached for the faucet, and wet the cloth in her hand. "I couldn't wear something like that," she finished quietly.
Hilde was watching her as she squeezed the excess water from the cloth, as she ran it over one cheek then the other. Relena watched Hilde's reflection, and shivered when Hilde took the washcloth from her hand.
"Here, let me," the girl said, turning Relena to face her. "Let me show you how great your eyes will look in a different color."
She was so close now, and Relena gave her permission. Hilde wiped the lids of her eyes clear, her chin held gently in Hilde's hand.
"A silvery blue, I think. Not too dark. But maybe with a little liner," Hilde was murmuring more to herself, and Relena closed her eyes, let Hilde pat her face dry, let the girl begin applying something different to her eyes, to her face.
Time was immaterial. There was only the now, with Hilde gently using brushes on her eyes, her cheeks, her lashes. Never had anyone done something like this for her, to her. Professionals were used before each vid broadcast and even at special functions. But at those times, she was never touched by those touching her face. Too focused on a speech or an introduction or a debating issue, the professionals were just that, professionals doing a job.
As Hilde's fingers brushed color to her cheeks, followed with a puff of air, Relena smiled softly. Friends she had had plenty of, but those sycophants would never have approved of Lena; would never have slurped down a daiquiri, danced chest to back and side to side within a crush of friends; would never have had the desire so sharp and sweet to press lips to lips inches away.
"There," Hilde whispered, drawing back. "A little gloss and you're good to go."
Relena opened her eyes, and blinked. Hilde was staring at her, mouth parted, and eyes reflecting an emotion Relena knew was in her own eyes. Her hand rose as if on its own, and she caressed fingers up Hilde's jaw, cupped it like she'd seen an actor do in a movie once, and drew closer.
"Thank you," she said softly, her eyes on Hilde's. Their lips touched, and she felt the tiny gasp from Hilde's mouth against her own, and smiled. Drawing back minutely, her eyes flicked from Hilde's to her lips and back, and she was pressing her mouth to Hilde's again.
Her first thought was that Duo had been right. Girl lips were soft. Her next was the urge for more. She moved her lips slowly, parting and closing them, and felt Hilde gasp again. Hilde's lips were sweet, and she touched the tip of her tongue to them. Hilde's mouth opened, and her tongue was touching Relena's.
"Oh," Relena gasped softly, her breath hitched. Her hand curled in Hilde's hair, and she opened her mouth to Hilde's tongue. Minutes ago, she had thought her lips were tingly; now, her lips were electrified. Soft, gloss covered lips were creating fire inducing friction, and Relena's free hand wrapped its fingers in Hilde's shirt, pulling her closer yet.
Vaguely she was aware of a hand in her hair, pulling on the ribbon she'd used to tie her hair back. Fingers were at her waist, kneading tenderly. Stilling movement without moving away, Relena opened her eyes, staring into Hilde's.
Hilde's wonderfully sweet lips curved upward, her hand tightened on Relena's waist. "That was nice," Hilde whispered against her lips. Her other hand released the grip she had on Relena's hair, and brought it around to stroke the back of her fingers over Relena's cheek.
"I want-" Relena started, but a loud knock at the door broke them apart.
"Lena?" Duo called, the knob was turning, and Duo was walking in hand over his eyes. "Lena? You okay in he-" he choked, seeing the two of them standing too close, faces obviously flushed, and breathing hard. "What the hell-?"
"Are you a barbarian? This is a bathroom, you know," Hilde said roughly, her arm snaking around Relena's waist.
"What do you think you're doing?" Duo demanded, coming inside the room. "Hilde? Relena?"
"Duo," Relena breathed happily. She stepped away from Hilde, and placed a hand on his chest. "I know what you meant, now." She was smiling up into his face as he glared down at her.
His expression became perplexed. "What I meant?" He glanced up at Hilde who was now leaning against the bathroom wall, her arms crossed over her stomach.
"Don't look at me. I don't know what she's talking about." She was scowling at him, obviously displeased.
Duo frowned at her, and taking Relena's wrist, he pulled her out of the bathroom after him. "You and me are going to talk, girl. Right here, right now!"
"Here?" Relena asked, stumbling to a halt in the hallway outside the bathroom.
"No," Duo growled, and jerked her farther back into the hallway, away from the music and friends and drinks. "In here." A door opened, and he pushed her ahead of him into the dark room.
"Oh." Relena turned about when the lights flipped on overhead. Suddenly curious, she moved away from Duo to the middle of the room. In front of her was large bed, and she was blushing, knowing this was Heero and Duo's bed. The one they slept on together, the one where they were together. She put her hand on its comforter, wondering if it were as soft as it looked.
"...Hilde of all people! It's just not-"
Looking away from the bed, she saw matching chests of drawers, one on each side of the window. It was then she noticed how neat the room was, for neither dresser was cluttered, though both held personal items. The bed was made, and glancing around the floor, she saw not a hint of discarded clothing, not so much as an errant sock.
She turned back to Duo, a slight frown marring her newly made-up face. "I thought you two were bachelors."
"...drink too much - what?" Duo stumbled to a stop.
"Bachelors," she repeated slowly. "Aren't bachelors supposed to have messy rooms, disgusting things hidden in corners?"
Duo's mouth worked, before he shut it with a snap. He muttered something under his breath that she couldn't hear and spun around. "Wait here," he told her, and left abruptly.
Alone, she wandered over to the dressers and looked over the objects there. A pair of picture frames caught her attention, and she picked up the first. Heero and Duo, taken at some formal function, for she recognized Heero's standard black on black over white dress clothes. She smiled fondly at the both of them, seeing how happy they looked.
She replaced the one and picked up the other, her breath catching knowing when it had been taken. It was one of her surrounded by all five pilots, shortly after the first Eve war. Quatre's arm was in its sling, and the final battle was still reflected in each of their eyes. How close it had been. Her eyes smarted.
"Must be the daiquiris," she muttered quietly, but brushed a gentle fingertip over each of their young faces.
The door opened behind her, and she turned at her name. "Heero," she breathed, and crossed the floor to his side.
"Duo said you might want to go...?" he questioned.
"It's time to go home?" Her hand rose and she picked at a stray string on his shirt.
"I think so," he answered, gently tugging the picture frame from her hand and tossing it on the bed. "I think you've had enough normal 'teenager' fun for the night."
"Okay." Her tone was demure, and suddenly, she felt tired. Heero let her take his hand, and he led her from the room, back out to the main room. She was able to tell a few of the other goodbye, but she could see a couple had already left, and there was no sign of Hilde.
Duo followed them outside the apartment, and he touched her arm briefly. "I'm glad you had a good time, Lena. But maybe next time," he shot a look at Heero, "next time we do this without the daiquiris, okay?"
"Thank you, Duo," Relena said, and on impulse, she leaned forward and kissed his mouth. It was a quick press, and she was backing away, turning about and heading for the elevator before Duo could say more.
"She kissed me, Heero," she heard Duo say hoarsely.
"I saw that." Heero sounded as always so cool and collected, if somewhat amused. "I'll be back in twenty minutes," he said, and soft footsteps alerted her to his presence.
It was in silence that they rode the elevator car to the garage level, and in silence, she followed Heero to his car. She didn't mind the quiet; she almost relished it. A hint of melancholia settled in her middle, and sinking into the plush of the passenger seat, she stared out the side window, thoughts circling on the party she'd just left.
"Are you mad at me?" she asked in a small voice, watching his profile reflected in the window.
He had glanced her way, then back to the road before he answered. "No, I'm not mad at you."
"But Duo was." One hand gripped the other in her lap.
Heero shook his head. "He was concerned. Worried about you." The back of his hand brushed her arm, and she turned to him. "I think you scared him."
"I scared him? How?"
A quick look followed by a quicker laugh. "You haven't been quite yourself tonight."
"But I wasn't," she said seriously. "I was Lena." Heero's laugh was one to remember, and she smiled in sudden good feeling. "Heero," she said, leaning over the center console, "I kissed a girl." And the giggle that started, stopped as if jerked up short. Her hand flew to her mouth, and her eyes grew wide staring at Heero. "I giggled!"
Relena's breath hitched; Heero's voice held such affection. He glanced her way, and gave her a smile. "Do you think she liked it?" her voice was small again, uncertain.
"Who? Hilde?" Heero looked at her again. "I think if Hilde hadn't, you would have known it," Heero reassured her.
"I kissed her, Heero, and I liked it." She turned to look out the side window again, and smile a soft secret smile just for herself. "Do you think she would let me kiss her again? I'd like to kiss her again," she whispered to her mirrored image.
"She's staying with us," he offered, and she felt the car turning onto the long drive to the residence. "Why... why don't you ask her to lunch tomorrow."
"Lunch! I can do that." She straightened as Heero pulled the car to a stop. "Do you think she'd come?"
"She will come," Heero assured her again. "Do you need help inside?"
"No, I can make on my own." She smiled and leaning over the console again, she kissed his lips softly. "That's to make it even," she quipped and exited his car. She was smiling when the doorman let her inside, and still smiling walking up the stairs to her room.
It had been a night of experiments, of new adventures, and one she knew she'd never forget.