Aww, thank you! They’re fun and relaxing for me to write up so I figure, eh, maybe they’ll be fun and relaxing for someone else to hear?
I believe in you.
Well they’d have Ricky’s cunning, V’s disregard for common sense and basic survival instinct, Ricky’s ability to redirect everyone and anyone away from what he’s really doing, and V’s taste for chaos.
I’d give the human species about a year.
I mean, they’ve already set the world record for messiest divorce so why not go all the way?
What a great, great freckled boy! (Also you always do the hair so swoopy and I absolutely adore it).
EDIT: I’ve remedied the glasses situation. Your good freckled boy is now free to also be bespectacled in the photo ID and other such scenes where it would be mentioned as well.
On an entirely unrelated sidenote I was feeling a li’l stressed today because work so I saw that someone had requested an example kiss scene ft. Ricky and I wanted to decompress so long story short I broke my ‘no more shorts until the update’ promise for the third time but, yeah, if you want to read it I’ll go ahead and put it in here as well for y’all:
(EDIT2: Should also mention that the person who asked for this specifically requested an MC who was taller than Ricky which is why… well… the MC is taller than Ricky.)
I need to stop doing this
You readjust the wig in the mirror for the fifth time. You’re sure that nobody will recognize you, being a bit of a nobody yourself, but the danger is less that they see who you really are and more that they don’t see who you’re supposed to be. You pull the card out of the jacket pocket once more, Eli Finelli- black hair, green eyes, and completely plain-looking despite their important status. But it’s that good ole Regular Doe aesthetic of theirs that made them an easy target for impersonation. Sure, the contacts are just about as uncomfortable as a gunwound in the shoulder, and sure, the wig itches like a whole herd of bugs have decided to throw a parade atop your skull, and sure everything about this outfit of his reeks of the Desert Pine Oasis mini-cologne bottle that they keep in their lapel but other than that it’s fine…
What even is a ‘Desert Pine Oasis’, anyway?
From the smell you’d be more likely to label it ‘Someone Took a Big Bowl of Orange Juice and Just Dumped A Whole Lotta Lemons in It, Then Set It On Fire’. But, sure, ‘Desert Pine Oasis’ works well, too.
A quick buzz against the suite’s bathroom sink shows a blinking alert on the timer you set before the party starts.
You take a deep breath of the illogical landmass cologne and brace yourself against the sink. “Five minutes. In and out. You didn’t go through the trouble of tricking Finelli just to give in now. You can do this.” With that, you set a timer on your phone, five minutes, just like you said. All you need is to get close to Denise Washington, slip her the note, and run before anybody recognizes that you… aren’t you.
It seems so at first, at least. When you’re in the elevator and everything is quiet and peaceful, filled with just the metallic grinding noise of machinery and the soft, subtle jazz tunes that ironically don’t actually come from the elevator itself, but get louder and louder as you approach the bottom floor. The high-pitched ding, however, definitely comes from the elevator itself, and then…
Then everything gets a lot less simple.
You force a smile through the glaring, flashing, seizure-inducing lightshow that is the press, herded like animals between a series of velveteen ropes. The photographers stretch their arms out as far over the boundaries as they can before a gold-suited security guard inevitably shoves the offending limbs back into the line… is this what you must look like on the job? Ravenous- almost beastial with a kind of unhinged hunger for even just the blurriest of shots.
“That’s Eli Finelli!” Well, at least they’ve given you a kind of confirmation that the disguise works. “Eli!” “Finelli, over here!” “How does it feel to be invited back to Ms. Washington’s soiree after you split?” “Eli! What designer are you wearing?” “Any comment on the Igneous-fiasco?” “What are the plans for reconstruction?” “Eli Finelli!”
The combined pressure of light and sound assaulting your senses quickly gathers a migraine, it becomes harder and harder to force a smile through the thick layers of dizzying pictures and camera-clicks. You feel the need to loosen the bowtie around your neck. You feel like you can’t breathe. Like you’re suffocating under all this social weight. Struggling desperately to keep yourself from gasping and passing out, you try to think of something, anything, any point of clarity to help you answer this onslaught of questions. As if searching for an answer your eyes dart frantically towards the already-passing train of other VIPs in front of you, many of whom have congregated just outside the spotlight- a safe distance away from the intrusive inquiries while still being able to soak up all the glittering, front-page attention. A few of whom look upon you and the other slowly trickling-out fashionably-late-comers with grim grins of amusement. Among them-
He stands there, looking politely disinterested in all the happenings around him, with his back turned to the press- and to you, chatting with an older woman in an expensive-looking suit who has long grey streaks running through her fluffed-back black hair. You squander the urge to call out to him- for all you know he and Finelli could be rivals, after all, and you can’t risk him recognizing you… But even just seeing him seems to calm your racing heart. Somehow, the screams seem less loud, and the camera bulbs shine less glaringly bright. When you turn to the others, you can smile with more ease. You can practically hear Ricky’s voice in your head- calm, assertive, collected.
You pause in your step, surveying the crowd with your hands confidently placed on the sides of your belt as you’ve seen Finelli stand in press photos. “What a lovely crowd gathered here tonight,” You can see his charming smile, perfectly even and poised, you’ve practically memorized that quirk of his lips, and that makes it easy to mimic, “I’m afraid I don’t have time to answer all your questions right now. Besides, tonight to celebrate Denise- not myself! Please, friends, wait for an official report or hearing, and then I’ll be happy to supply. But for now, let’s focus on the hostess, shall we?”
When you walk away, they call at your back, but you can barely hear them. Instead you find your eyes continually flickering towards Ricky, who you can now see wears a weary look of exhaustion whenever his face is turned from the cameras. Subconsciously you can feel your feet trying to guide you over towards him, but you school yourself into walking a straight line. Denise Washington, you just have to find…
You subconsciously glance over to him one more time- and one time was enough, because at that moment Ricky looks up from the ground and spots you over the shoulder of his companion. You freeze up, and the person behind you nearly crashes into your back as you try and fail to tear your eyes away. Ricky’s gaze narrows, and you watch as his expression shifts between varying levels of confusion.
You should look away. If you look away and fade into the crowd right now he won’t recognize you. You’ll just be another face in the crowd. You can do what you came here for and-
Too late. His eyes quickly go wide with surprise and you can see by the sheer shock painted across his face that he’s either recognized you, or seen a ghost… Then again, maybe you could count as both right now. He turns to the woman, says something quick and quiet before walking away from her- towards you.
Which is your cue to get outta there.
You try to slip into the crowd, in fact, you make it two ‘Excuse Me’s’ and one ‘Pardon’ deep before a hand catches your arm. Turning brings you face to face with a very confused, and, if it were at all possible, even more surprised Ricky Dempsey.
The idea of trying to keep up the charade is briefly considered and quickly set aside, he’s got you and trying to play it off would only make you look more suspicious. Still, you can’t risk being exposed. “Mr. Dempsey! What a pleasure to see you,” You turn around and grasp his hand in what might appear to any onlooker as a friendly handshake. “It’s really been so long, how I’d love to catch up in private sometime.” You give Ricky a pleading look, hoping against hope he gets the message.
Ricky, for his part, recovers quickly, and that practiced smile you’d imitated just moments before spreads over his lips. “If it isn’t Eli Finelli,” You practically sigh in relief. “What an… absolute surprise to run into you here. I must say, I almost didn’t recognize you at first…”
“Ah, yes, well, it’s been quite a while.” You wave the comment away quickly, “Now, as lovely as it is to see you I should really be greeting our dearest hostess.”
But he doesn’t let go of your hand… and you can’t say you aren’t reluctant to force him to do so.
“Come now, Finelli, it’s been too long for you to just… run off, like that.” Ricky counters, “Why don’t we… have a little chat, first?”
He squeezes your hand, almost imperceptibly, and you… You just sigh, “Alright.” and speak in your own voice, instead of the fake, high-and-mighty accent you’ve been putting on for Finelli.
“Fantastic,” Ricky also seems to lose a little of his grandeur, but his is quickly recovered with a clearing of the throat, and too-slow-for-others but somehow too-soon-for-you release of your palm as he adjusts his tie instead. “Follow me. I know somewhere a bit… quieter.” He seems to completely lose his façade for a moment, nearly tossing a wayward glare to the press before he remembers that the two of you are in public- and that Ricky’s got as much a disguise to keep up as you do. With that same, strained smile he guides you almost effortlessly through the crowd. You can’t help but notice that people seem to part for him, even when they don’t realize it all it takes is a calculated wave of the hand and they’ll step aside with laughing apologies. Soon, the two of you stand in front of one of the gaudy-gold-clad bouncers, but Ricky flashes an invitation and speaks a few words too quick for you to catch- and the guard steps aside. He waves for you to follow him into what appears to be a previously-closed off ballroom in the hotel’s lobby, the guard meant to keep you out even holds the door open for the two of you as you enter. By the time you look back- the door has already been slammed shut once more.
“How the hell did you manage that?” You try not to sound very impressed as you turn around to Ricky with a relaxed smile on your face. Already the quiet that the sealed room provides makes it easier to breathe, alleviating some of the tension between your shoulder blades. Ricky, however, looks just as tense as he was outside. He leans stiffly against one of the tables, arms folded and lips pressed into a thin line while he stares you down.
When you meet his eyes, he looks to the floor. “I could ask you the same thing.” He sighs deeply, and finally looks your way, “Do I even want to know why you’re dressed like Eli Finelli?”
Several excuses go through your head. Several excuses that would all be fairly logical and easy-to-explain. Several excuses that would probably be a lot better, and a lot smarter, than what you actually do- but you’re tired. Tired from this case and all the strain it’s put on you, and tired from having to keep up all these pretenses. You can barely remember the last time you had a quiet moment with Ricky, and part of you is happy that he’s just messed up your entire plan. Happy that he’s standing there, leaning against the table in one of his fancier suits, the bright, empty ballroom light falling across his face at a slant that makes the shadows look even more prominent by his nose and under his chin, looking as impeccable as always- if not a little moreso for the fancy occaison, though you practically didn’t think it was possible.
So you do the illogical thing, you grin and saunter towards him with a sly chirp to your voice, “What? This not your kinda thing?”
Ricky does his best to look surprised and annoyed that you just very obviously sidestepped his question, but even you can see the smirk tugging valiantly at the corners of his lips, “Not quite, no.” Ricky shrugs, looking a bit more relaxed as he settles into an easy banter. You’re practically toe to toe with him now, bright, icy blue eyes that seem uncharacteristically warm to for the color, “I think I much prefer you without the disguise.”
For all your grandiose speech and setup, the quick compliment catches you off guard, and the most you can reply with is a less-than-intelligible “Uh…” Followed by the brilliant quick recovery of “Thanks?” And what will inevitably amount to at least a week of crippling self-shame and embarrassment-fueled regret.
At least Ricky seems to get a kick out of it, a quiet, almost sarcastic snort slipping out as he tries to keep from laughing. Tries, that is, and fails.
“Well, wow, Ricky, you don’t have to laugh at me for it…” You grumble, but inevitably find yourself holding back a giggle-fit as well. Ricky pushes himself off the table, and suddenly the two of you are nose-to-nose and you’re watching those bright blue eyes of his once more. Almost subconsciously you reach a hand up and wrap it around the side of his jacket, grabbing onto it with a bit more stress than intended. Though you say nothing your gaze flickers down once towards his lips before being caught up again in his stare. The slightest of nods and you begin to lean down and-
Ricky steps away, nearly making you stumble forward into the table. “Well, now, I suppose I wouldn’t want to keep you from… whatever story all this requires.” You just manage to catch yourself, fingers slipping from his coat as he walks away, straightening his tie. He glances back at you, with a smug, self-satisfied smirk as you give him a shocked and frankly disappointed frown.
“Oh, you’re cruel, you know that?”
Ricky chuckles, this time unrestrained, as he turns back towards you. It’s a rare and happy sound, one that you’re proud to say you’ve only ever really heard while you’re around. In a moment you feel his hands reach up and cup around the sides of your jaw, tugging you down as he stretches up to press his lips to yours. Again, he catches you off guard, as you’ve no doubt he was intending to do. Still, you use what you can to your advantage, wrapping your arms around him and lifting him ever so slightly to get a better angle. You savor the familiar feeling, and for a moment allow yourself to forget that you’re wearing someone else’s skin right now. Because now, you can feel like yourself once more- slipping back into a well-known comfort as all the stress and pressure and fear of discovery melts away until it’s just you and Ricky in this empty room. You close your eyes, and then even the unfamiliar room fades away- until all you feel, all you know for this brief moment in time, is that comforting, easy bliss.
When he pulls away, setting back down on his own feet, you’re still reluctant to let go. “How else am I supposed to keep up with you?” He asks in a quiet whisper, afraid to break the almost sacred silence. Your eyes flutter open slowly, letting time and place wash back in at a relaxed pace. Even then, the reminders of where you are only seem to make your grip tighten on the back of his jacket. Ricky’s eyes flicker around your face for a moment, “I wasn’t lying when I said I prefer you without all this. It feels… odd… when you don’t look like, well, you.”
You laugh, a little bitterly, “That makes two of us.”
Sadly, Ricky steps away- for real this time- and you feel a quiet pang as your hands slip away from him. “Well, then, perhaps I can help.”
“Help?” You speak the word slowly, each letter accented with confusion.
“Of course. You mentioned you were here to see Denise Washington, correct? Well, you may look the part of Eli Finelli but in the end, you aren’t them…”
“Your faith in my skills is remarkable.”
Ricky rolls his eyes “Oh, come now, it’s no comment on you. Finelli and Washington were lovers for quite some time and, as I’m sure we’ve established, it’s fairly easy to pick someone you care about apart from the crowd.”
“Lovers, eh?” You pass him a sly smile. “You saying you in love with me, Dempsey?”
Ricky coughs, and his hands- of course- reach up to run through his hair, a slight red tinting the edge of his ears, “That wasn’t the point and you know it.”
“But it was a point, wasn’t it?”
“Do you want my help to convince Denise Washington or not?”
You feign a bow, “Why, Mr. Dempsey, I would be delighted to have you accompany me on this grand night.”
“No amount of my help will save you if you keep acting like that.”
“Please don’t.” Ricky sighs heavily, shaking his head. “You may have a story to complete but I’d still enjoy keeping my reputation as it is as well, if you don’t mind.”
Your grin falls, “Right… reputation, of course.”
Ricky catches your look and glances away, he’s silent for a moment, arms once again crossed across his chest as he shrugs, “Before we go, I… suppose I should let you know- despite how… disruptive your visit is, this was, perhaps, the most enjoyable part of tonight.” The corner of his lip tilts upwards in a lopsided, crooked smirk- much less polished and poised than the even media-smile he flashes the press, “I’m… happy to see you here.”
You perk up almost immediately, “You know, Dempsey, it’s actually not that hard to give a straight compliment without adding in something backhanded, contrary to popular belief.”
Ricky snorts again, “Oh come now, I have a reputation to keep up, don’t I?”
“You’re starting to sound like me.”
“You’re a bad influence.”
“I’m the best influence.”
“Right…” Ricky uncrosses his arms, nodding towards the door once, “Well, then, shall we get going, Eli Finelli?”
You grin and step up behind him, falling with reluctant ease back into your disguise, “Of course, Mr. Dempsey. And, I do hope that we get to have a ‘chat’ like this again.”
“Of course. The sooner, the better.”