Sugar dusts pink powder over Daphne's cheeks. "Don't cry now, honey, or it'll all run."
"I wouldn't ruin all your hard work, Sugar," Daphne says, patting her hair. It's a nest of curls in the back that would've come off sloppy in her own hands but look artful from Sugar's tender loving care.
The day's not as hectic as she had expected it to be. Maybe it's down to the size of the wedding party. Besides her and Osgood, there's only Sugar, Joe, and Mrs. Fielding. Oh, and the captain of the New Caledonia, of course, to make it as legal as it can be, as long as Joe keeps quiet when it comes time to give a reason why these two should not be wed.
And Joe had promised to, last night. Over a bottle of champagne and a twisted wrist and the knowledge that Sugar wasn't going to speak up, either. Maybe, also, remembering the sharp heels he'd seen earlier when Daphne and Sugar had been unpacking ceremony clothes.
When Daphne shuts her eyes to let Sugar brush a tint over her lids, Joe shifts in his chair -- making the discarded plastic wrap from the flower bouquets (cooling in the fridge now) crinkle underneath him -- and clears his throat. "Want me to get you some coffee?" he asks. His voice is almost as stiff as it'd been when the tailor had been on the ship fixing Mrs. Fielding's dress.
"Oh, no," Sugar says, her hand making deliberate sweeps with the makeup brush. "She wouldn't want coffee breath during the wedding. Think about that kiss," she says, laughing. She moves to get some more shadow onto her brush. "So, how was your party last night?"
Daphne cracks an eye open and shoots a sharp look at Joe before he can open his mouth. "A lady never tells," she says.
She sees a smirk cross Joe's face before she shuts her eye so Sugar can tend to it. "You weren't much of a lady last night," he says. The flower plastic crinkles some more and Daphne imagines he's stretching out over the little couch in the corner.
"I'm always a lady," Daphne says, airily. "Even when I'm in trousers."
The special club Joe spent half a week tracking down -- and that wasn't easy when he had to do most of it through very discreet ship-to-shore phone calls -- gets vetoed before they're even off the dock, which kind of knocks most of his plans back into the water. They keep walking, though, heels clicking on the wood while the car Joe reserved idles in the distance.
"So what do you want to do?" he asks.
His hands keep fluttering around his pockets, like his new flask might disappear if he doesn't pay attention to it long enough. Or maybe just the engraving Osgood helped Sugar get. Joe's never had an engraved flask before. At least it doesn't have his name on it. That would just be asking for a raid.
"Let's just go out to a normal place, Joe."
That was the normal place, Joe thinks. He makes it to the car first and hooks his fingers through the handle, tugging the door open for Jerry before the driver can amble over from his smoke break.
Jerry looks at the door, then looks at him, then looks at the door, then looks at him. And then he laughs.
"What?" Joe asks. His hand tightens on the door handle.
Still snickering, Jerry reaches up and pats his hand against Joe's cheek. "Aren't you just a sweetheart," he teases, ducking into the car before Joe can swing around the door and catch him by the back of the collar.
The corner they wedge themselves into has a line of sight straight to the band, and just enough room for them to jab their elbows into each other's ribs whenever they move.
But the beer is cheap and doesn't taste like it'll make them sick in the morning. Jerry would've stopped drinking in that case. There's no way he's getting vomit on his dress in front of Mrs. Fielding. The music is the right volume, and enough to make him stir, his fingers twitching for an instrument that's been in storage during the wedding preparations.
"Stop it," Joe says, only the farthest edges of his words starting to slur. He takes a slap at Jerry's fingers but ends up grabbing at them and squeezing instead. "Fun, not work. What kind of best man would I be if I let you work tonight?"
"Listening to music is hardly work," Jerry says, bumping against Joe hard enough to nearly knock him to the floor, which sends them both into laughing fits. It's warm and familiar and something he could do in his sleep. Jerry even bumps his glass on cue.
"Whoa there." Joe tips the glass in time to keep it from spilling over the food. "We haven't had enough to drink to excuse that kind of thing."
Jerry sips his drink and considers that for a moment. "Then," he pronounces, thinking he could've used this kind of a send-off party the night before he let Daphne out for the first time, too, "we haven't had enough to drink."
Laughing into his glass, Joe nearly pushes him to the floor, too, which means he agrees. At least with the spoken sentiment.
"Order up some better music while you're at it," Joe mutters, when Jerry leans over to one of the bus boys scrambling by and asks for a bottle of champagne.
Now there's a comment Jerry wouldn't have expected. "They're not so bad."
"It's all…" Joe snaps his fingers a few times and shrugs. "I just want something more … complicated, for a change."
"Like we don't have enough of that in our life already…" Jerry mutters. He takes the champagne before the bus boy can open it and shakes it up himself, thumbing the cork open. "C'mon, Joe, don't tell me Junior rubbed off on you."
The corner of Joe's mouth quirks. He holds his glass out for the bottle. "I am most certainly behaving just as I usually do," he says, voice twanging with what he thinks passes for a wealthy accent.
Jerry laughs into his glass. Junior's never not going to be ridiculous. "If you finish that drink before I finish mine, I might believe you."
It's getting time to go home when Jerry gets to his feet so abruptly Joe doesn't have time to catch the glass he knocks over. At least, at that point, it was empty. He slumps in his seat and eyes Joe suspiciously, wondering where this sudden burst of energy came from.
"Eager to get back to your fiancé?" he guesses.
Saying that, the sour taste in the back of his throat isn't as strong as it was a few months ago, back when he still thought he could talk Jerry out of this thing. If he'd known better, understood things more, he would've tried talking to Daphne, or at least when Jerry was feeling more… frilly and feminine.
Not that it would've worked. But at least he wouldn't have gotten so many sad looks leveled at him for failing to grasp the basics of the situation.
"I want one more song, actually," Jerry says, cracking his knuckles.
The band's members in the back row are already winding down, since it's harder to see them in the shadows. The conductor is spending as much time looking at the clock as he is looking at the music stand.
"I don't think you're going to get one. Sun's coming up soon."
"Watch me," Jerry says, hips wiggling like they do when he's in a pair of particularly high heels.
Joe nearly says I'd rather not, but manages to spit out "What're you going to do, blindfold them?" instead.
The ensuing wink is friendly and infuriating at the same time. "Yep," Jerry declares, stepping out from the corner to make his way towards the band.
Rolling his eyes, Joe just waves him off. Somebody who's got as much experience in bands as Jerry does should know by now that there's no extra songs, not without a hefty amount of money to go along with him, and since Osgood insisted Jerry not pay for a thing at this party, even though it's all technically Fielding money, Joe knows Jerry doesn't have a dime on him.
The shadows half-hiding the back row of the band leave the front entirely exposed, so it's more than easy to see Jerry weasel his way up and talk to the conductor for a minute. Joe is thinking of an appropriate comeback when Jerry returns empty-handed (or empty-eared, rather), when… well…
The conductor makes some kind of gesture and a frantic bus boy skids over, then skitters away again while Jerry struts back to the table, hand stuck smugly in his pockets.
Before he's snug in his seat again, the bus boy has returned with some cloth napkins that this joint must break out for the customers with deep pockets. They're big enough to tie around everybody's heads, it looks like, after the first few are handed out.
"How in the hell--"
Jerry taps his lips and puts his feet up on the nearest empty chair. "Fielding family secret."
"I'm going to go talk to the band," Osgood says, folding his napkin and plopping it down in the middle of his empty plate. He grins at her and leans forward a little. "We don't want them to pack up just yet."
Legs crossed and chair tilted back a few inches, Daphne fiddles with the corners of her own napkin. It's been the longest night of her life, or at least the second longest after the first one they spent running away from those guys in Chicago. And it's not quite over yet, though if Joe hasn't gotten his damn ass off that boat by now, it's his own damn fault when Osgood catches him. He just better not rat Daphne out.
"It's not going to work," she calls, vaguely fantasizing about getting into some less restrictive underwear. "I know, I'm in a band. Bands don't go over."
Osgood smiles. "I can get them to."
"No fair paying them," Daphne says, waggling a finger at him. Maybe Joe would tell her to do whatever she had to in order to buy him more time, but there have to be lines. "That's cheating."
"We wouldn't want that," Osgood says. He strides up to the band.
Daphne sips the last of her drink, figuring it's probably not wise to order any more, even though it's the best champagne she's ever had. She watches him talked, animated, to the band, his arms moving around while the music slows as more of the musicians turn to look at him. The conductor even stops conducting.
She wonders if getting kicked out of a restaurant near dawn with an older man might get her fired if Sweet Sue finds out about it.
But when Osgood turns around and comes swaggering back to the table, all that happens is a couple of waiters coming along with big cloth napkins … to pass out to the band. Who start tying the things around their faces. Daphne's not sure, but she thinks her mouth's hanging open as Osgood extends his hand for her.
"May I have this dance?" he asks, the band launching into a new number.
Daphne considers that for a moment before giving him her hand. If Osgood can get a band to blindfold themselves just to have another dance with her, well. She might as well show him some moves.
It's three dances later when she gets fed up. You can't show somebody how good at dancing you are if they get miffed every time you start to bend the rules.
"I am perfectly capable of taking the lead! It's called sharing and I learned it when I was still in short pants!" she snaps. There's a brief look of confusion on Osgood's face before she catches her mistake, and she decides to plow on, figuring she can drown it out through sheer volume. "Just because I'm in a dress doesn't mean I can't make some decisions!"
Osgood's eyes widen. "I'm only behaving w--"
"Well, stop it!" Daphne trumpets. Then she remembers the elevator and hastens to add, "You can treat me like a lady without treating me like I'm incompetent. I think I know music pretty well. I can dance!"
This is the first time she's ever had to convince someone she was competent enough to move around without falling over. Being Jerry definitely has its benefits. Nobody asks whether he can move over a dance floor. Of course, nobody ever lets Jerry explain why he likes waiting a while between haircuts, until his hair starts to curl, or why he says his favorite women's name is Daphne.
For a moment the two of them stand on the dance floor and don't move, and then Osgood relaxes his grip on her.
"Show me your stuff, Daph," he says, grinning slowly.
She huffs, but doesn't let go of him. "It's Daphne. And don't you get any ideas from this."
"Of course not," he says, eyes twinkling.
"Will you marry me?"
Osgood watches Daphne stop in her tracks before slowly turning on one heel, which she'd proved she could do whenever the music called for it.
For a moment she just stares at him, and he takes the time to look at her without anybody else around, looking at him looking at her and looking at her looking at him and wondering what either sees in the other.
The corner of her mouth quirks, and she tilts her chin up. "And why," she says, "do you expect me to consider that offer without even a ring attached to it?"
"I thought," Osgood says, slowly, feeling proud enough of this that he doesn't mind dragging it out a little, "you might like to pick that out yourself."
There's another pause.
Then Daphne smiles.
Kissing both of Daphne's cheeks, Sugar leans back and smiles. "You look beautiful, honey."
"Well, with a little hard work," Daphne demurs.
She waves when Sugar goes to get the bouquets, and holds up a little silver-handed mirror to examine her reflection in. It's not as strange as it once was to see Daphne in the mirror. And she doesn't look so bad if she does say so herself.
When plastic crinkles behind her, she tilts the mirror so she can see Joe sitting on the couch. He keeps moving his arms like he isn't sure what to do with them, and every time he finds a new place to rest his elbows, the plastic crinkles again.
Daphne puts the mirror down and rises to her feet, walking over to the couch. Joe looks up at her, his neck stiff. She smiles and turns her back to him.
"Button me up?"
The buttons had needed to be moved a little bit, but the tailor had managed to keep all the originals. Which Mrs. Fielding had certainly been pleased by. Almost as pleased as when Daphne had done a recital for her.
Joe's fingers fumble over them, but he manages to get them all done up, and the dress is only a little snug across Daphne's shoulders. She goes back to stand in front of the mirror and smiles at herself, tugging on one of the lace gloves that did have to be purchased new (there's only so much tailoring can do) but that still match the sleeves on the dress. Mostly.
The plastic crinkles again and Daphne looks around to see Joe edging towards the door of the room. "I'm… going to go wait with the captain."
"Wait for me!" Daphne says, dashing over to the dresser to grab the other glove.
Joe fidgets and looks over at the door. "I think it'll be better if I…"
"Oh, stay put." Daphne frowns and lifts up a few sheets of paper until she finds her earrings. She fixes one into place and looks over her shoulder, smiling. "If you don't wait until I'm ready, who'll walk me down the aisle?"
Color rises to Joe's cheeks, but he smiles back.