If Emily had to describe the experience of attending award shows with Annie in just one phrase, she'd probably equate it with babysitting for new parents. It's supposed to run smoothly and everything is planned out so thoroughly that there's barely any room for the children to take even a step they're not supposed to, but of course the second the parents are out the door—the second a wall is placed between Annie and the nearest camera—someone starts bouncing and someone realises there's a long evening ahead of them.
Anne hangs onto Emily's hand the whole time, and on the red carpet and earlier when they rehearsed their presenting bit and even when they're in public, that's all right; Annie can act calm and collected, talk seriously, be fairly easy on Emily's nerves. The only thing that ever betrays her composure is that grin of hers, bright and high on her face, corners twitching every time she tries to suppress it because she just can't. Annie likes these things; as far as Emily can tell, she doesn't take them overly seriously, but she acts a bit like she stepped into a magical fantasy world and she's determined to wholeheartedly buy all the pomp of the ceremony for as long as it lasts. It's sort of contagious.
The line for the restroom is short when Emily gets there, so it can't possibly be any longer than three minutes between the time she lets go of Annie's hand and the moment she reaches her again, but when she does, she has to blink.
"Jackpot," Annie says, smiling and licking her lips.
Emily raises an eyebrow. "I see." Annie seems to have at some juncture spotted food, and she's done away with a full plate piled up with shot glass-sized strawberry parfaits and fork-sized pies with chocolate oozing out of their star-shaped openings.
Given the way the industry is virtually obsessed with weight, Emily admires the open encouragement for starving actors and actresses to cheat on their diet; the portions are so small Emily reckons it's easy for anyone to believe they weren't truly cheating, as they ate so very little.
"Come on," Annie says in this silly conspiratorial whisper, lacing her fingers with Emily's and pulling her down the hallway until the buzz of chatter has died down and there's no one in sight. It's not really sneaking out if they're both still in the building and ready to go back out, but Emily indulges her.
"Line up the walls with them," Emily agrees, mock-solemn. Annie's sarcastic closed-off smile lasts all of two seconds before it turns truthful again. It's times like these that it becomes utterly mystifying to Emily how Anne ever manages to act through a full scene.
"Or something to put the things you're carrying. Can't really be expected to leave them on the floor. Crouch down in these dresses." She finds a decorative window sill beneath a set of portraits, though, just large and sturdy enough for her arse to not slip off it when she sits. The plate tumbles a bit when she places it beside her. "Scary," Annie says, and picks it back up.
"Should I expect large men to come looking for us wondering who ransacked the pastry table?"
"Ooh, mystery afoot," Annie says around a mouthful, barely covering her lips with her fingers, and holds out her little treasure for Emily to pick something out.
Emily raises an eyebrow and says, "Did you skip out on dinner?" but picks up one of the shot glasses anyway. Upon closer inspection, they come with their very own tiny spoon—rather like those you get when you buy ice cream, only these are proper glass and steel. Miniature fancy cutlery. Emily's genuinely frightened there'll come a day where she'll believe these things are a mark of sophistication.
Annie shakes her head and makes a noise Emily interprets as a no to her question. "Hated it," she adds once she's swallowed. "Plus these things are always so tiny. Ten of these are like one cupcake to my stomach."
"That might not be the most accurate ratio," Emily points out.
Annie shrugs, and breaks a tiny pie in two pieces, neatly stuffing one of the halves into her mouth. Emily fleetingly wonders if the portions are so small as to not disrupt anyone's lipstick and therefore lengthen the already frequently monstrous queues for the loo.
"Next time you should ring the catering agency beforehand," Emily says. "Surely they'll find it reasonable to account for your big mouth."
"I'm sure they will," Annie says, nodding.
Emily picks up another shot glass. "Last one."
Leaving the plate on the sill, Annie rises to her feet. She hums softly as she steps into Emily's space, and looks at Emily with wide, bright eyes.
Emily sighs long-sufferingly, holding back a smile. "Really?"
Annie makes a non-commital sound and proceeds to ignore the ridiculous miniature spoon in favor of sticking her pinky in the shot glass.
"You are aware you've got no time to wash up before we have to go back, yes?" Emily says, or tries to; before all the words are out, Annie's fingertip is pressing up against her lips.
Emily opens her mouth for a multitude of reasons—cleanliness, hunger, the fact that the strawberry parfaits are unfortunately delicious among them—but she only closes it around Annie's finger to see Annie's face. Her eyes go from surprised to scared and roaming—as though she can see if anybody's around without turning her head, which is not possible—to blinking slowly, joined in their interest by Annie biting her lip and lapping up the swell with her tongue.
Emily smirks around Annie's finger, letting it go, but Annie touches it to Emily's bottom lip and leaves it there for a second longer, long enough that it's still there when Annie leans in. She licks strawberry-stained cream off her nail with a long swap of her tongue, tip skipping along Emily's upper lip, and then Annie's hand retracts and Annie's mouth is on Emily's, a soft, careful kiss that reminds Emily their make-up isn't supposed to look smudged this early on the ceremony.
She really couldn't care less. She puts her hands on Annie's hips easily, thankful for the way her dress accentuates them, and feels Annie's giggle all the way down in her stomach when their noses clash. Annie sobers up incredibly quickly, grin fading out instantly as she bites Emily's lip; Emily opens her mouth easily, and Anne goes ahead and slips her tongue between Emily's lips, still gentle, still careful, but not nearly as chaste as before. Some more purity is lost when the back of Anne's hand brushes Emily's collarbone, almost as if she'd kept her playful little hand up in the air without Emily noticing.
The sudden shift in mood sends a shiver up Emily's spine, and Annie takes advantage of her pliancy, pressing herself closer and making Emily step back until she can feel the edge of a picture frame on the back of her head. Annie drags her fingers subtly over Emily's shoulder, just a ghost of a touch, and Emily can only feel the pressure of her dress when Annie cups her breast through it, but it's enough to make Emily's mouth fall open just that bit more, and a gasp slip out when Annie traces her thumb underneath the edge of her dress, not quite reaching Emily's nipple but close enough for Emily to wish it were.
Her chest rises into it, back arching just a fraction off the wall, and she must brush the plate Annie left there somehow because suddenly there is a loud breakage sound as it smashes down on the floor, porcelain breaking in several big chunks and leaving a trail of white chalk in its wake.
Annie steps back and drops her hand to Emily's wrist, curling her thumb and forefinger around the rise of Emily's thumb.
"Well," Annie says slowly, and pauses. She's breathing hard enough to hear, but it slows down quick, and when she says, "that could have been glass," her voice is as smooth as ever.
"Silver lining," Emily agrees, contributing to further breaking the mood by taking a step around the pieces of porcelain. "Could've still had food on it."
"Yeah," Annie sighs against Emily's lips, and then, "I'm kind of still hungry."
Emily snorts a laugh. "Go on," she says, but of course by the time Annie turns away she's got her hand in Emily's, fingertips sticky on Emily's knuckles, and Emily's pulled along for the quest.