Adrien felt like he was floating on a cloud the whole way home. He’d spent real, quality time alone with Marinette and she’d seemed to really actually like him . This, of course, wasn’t even getting into the fact that she’d let him hold her hand for a good ten minutes. Surely she wouldn’t do that if she didn’t like him?
But hand-holding aside, Adrien couldn’t believe he’d lost his nerve again. He’d had a week off of classes, and he’d spent plenty of that week with Marinette, and yet he still hadn’t told her how he felt.
The next day, once Nino and Alya were back in Berlin, Nino came over to help Adrien pick an outfit for Alya’s party.
“Dude,” Nino said, “everything you own looks great. I’m just wearing this.” He gestured to his own t-shirt and jeans.
“Yeah but you’re already officially with Alya.”
Nino rolled his eyes. “Marinette clearly likes you, dude. But…” he added. “That said… I wouldn’t wear a dorky sweater.”
“Ni no …”
“Okay, okay, fine, but if you end up looking like an idiot you can’t blame me. I don’t know anything about fashion.”
“I’ll take it. I can’t even think straight.”
Adrien sat on the edge of his bed while Nino pulled essentially all of the clothes out of his wardrobe. For someone who claimed to not know anything about fashion, Nino seemed to be rejecting most of Adrien’s clothes.
Plag found his way into the room and settled in on the growing pile of clothes. Adrien scooped him up before he could get buried, because Nino was absorbed in his task. Plag meowed in protest, so Adrien put him down on his duvet.
“Nino, what if she says no?”
“She won’t say no, dude. She’s as crazy about you as you are about her.” He pulled out a pair of black jeans, a white collared shirt, and a navy sweater. “Try this?”
Adrien made a face. “Black and navy together?”
Nino rolled his eyes. “I’m trying to help you, bro.”
Adrien took the jeans and the shirt and looked at them. “Hold on. I think I have a sweater from my dad’s line in the spare room that’ll work.”
He scratched Plag behind the ears before going to the spare room. He put the clothes down on the bed and searched the wardrobe quickly before he found it: a soft grey cashmere sweater from his father’s Fall/Winter line for the year. He’d worn it for a photoshoot a few months prior, and he remembered Marinette had commented on the spread when she’d seen it.
It was perfect.
He put on the jeans and the shirt, leaving the top couple buttons on the shirt undone, and then pulled the sweater on over top. He smoothed out his outfit and then went back to his room, where Nino was playing with Plag.
“What do you think?”
Nino really only glanced at him. “Marinette would say yes even if you showed up in your underwear. ... Especially if you showed up in your underwear.”
Adrien rolled his eyes, but he felt his face flush. “Let’s not try that tonight.”
“Maybe tonight, if all goes well.”
“Ni no !”
“I’m just saying, dude. We should stop and make sure you have condoms before we leave. Just in case.”
“Wh-what? No, Nino, we’re not going to have sex!”
“You don’t know that for sure! We’ll get some. Better safe than sorry.”
Adrien blushed, but couldn’t really protest. Because, well, if Marinette offered to have sex with him tonight, he wasn’t sure he’d insist on waiting any longer. They’d already known each other since October. “Fine,” he said.
“She’ll say yes. And you’ll start 2018 by telling all your fans on instagram that you’re off the market.”
Adrien smiled. “I think that would give my father a heart attack.”
“All the more reason!” Nino said, throwing an arm around his shoulder. “Not that we want him dead, but…. Alya and I both agree the dude’s a dick.”
“That he is,” Adrien agreed, “but I don’t know what would happen if he cut me off for damaging his image… and I really don’t want to think about it.”
“Fine, no instagram. But you’ll start 2018 with a girlfriend. Mark my words.”
The party was in full swing when Adrien and Nino arrived. Adrien rather thought it was because Nino had insisted upon stopping to buy condoms first, and had made a fuss over both of them getting just the right ones. Nino grabbed a beer from the kitchen while Adrien poured himself a mug of white Glühwein before heading upstairs to the loft.
Marinette was talking to a girl in a green dress when Adrien saw her. She was wearing a very flattering baby blue dress with lace overlay and an open back that only served to make Adrien more nervous.
“Adrien!” she called.
“It’s been forever, hasn’t it?” she asked, smiling.
“Um, uh-huh,” Adrien said. Shit, she was gorgeous . And she was unfailingly kind and creative and fun and way out of his league. What was he even thinking ? “I like your dress.”
Marinette blushed. “Oh, thank you! I got it from Pimkie. I thought about making my own, but… I ended up a little short on time.”
“Well,” Adrien said, “I really like it. It brings out your eyes.”
“Thanks,” she said, “I love your sweater. That’s…”
“It’s my dad’s line, yeah.”
“I really liked that spread,” Marinette said.
“I know,” Adrien said without thinking. “I mean… you mentioned that before… that you… liked that spread…”
“Adrien,” Marinette said, “do you have a minute? I know you just got here, but… I kind of wanted to talk to you about something.”
“Oh, uh, yeah, sure,” he said. “Actually… I wanted to talk to you about something, too.”
Marinette nodded. “Okay, then, um, let’s go to my room…?”
Adrien nodded. “Yeah.”
He followed Marinette downstairs and into her room, and stood awkwardly as she shut the door behind them.
It was really strange, Adrien thought, to be in Marinette’s room with her while Alya’s party raged on outside the door. Sure, he’d been in Marinette’s room with her multiple times… but this time… it was different, somehow. Even though he’d been interested in her from the beginning – thinking on that didn’t do anything.
“Uh, so…” he said.
“So…” she said, smiling. “Would you like to start, or shall I?”
“Uh, I think… if I could start…?” But then what if what she wanted to say was that she thought they’d be better as just friends? No; he wouldn’t let himself think about that. He was nervous enough as it was.
“Of course,” she said. She sat down on her bed, but he remained standing. “Take all the time you need.”
She was simply too nice, but… he couldn’t let this incertitude continue. “Uh, so…”
“I wanted… to ask you… uh, something.”
“And what is this ‘something’?” Was she teasing him? Was he that obvious?
He closed his eyes. He could do this. Practically everyone in the whole history of the world had done what he was about to do. This was nothing to be nervous about, right? He was just asking a gorgeous girl he was pretty sure he was head over heels in love with if she wanted to be in an exclusive relationship with him.
“Adrien?” she asked. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah, of course,” he said. “I just wanted to tell you that… I think you’re amazing. Honestly. And… we both love video games and we like comic books, and cats, and… I don’t like being a model , but I… I like fashion, honestly. Especially when you talk about fashion.” He couldn’t take it anymore; he opened his eyes.
She was looking at him with a very sympathetic expression… he couldn’t figure out if she was going to reject him or accept him. The only choice he had was to continue.
“I wanted to ask you if… if you wanted to, uh…. go out with me… exclusively.” Stupid! He’d very nearly forgotten to say exclusively . What if she thought they’d been dating the whole time? “And… if not, that’s perfectly fine with me, I’m sure we can… stay, uh, friends.”
Oh, shit, this was it. His heart was pounding, and his palms felt sweaty and part of him wanted to run out of the room. “Yeah?”
Marinette rolled her eyes. “Kiss me.”
She stood up. “Kiss me. You know…” she stepped close to him and draped her arms around his neck. “Like we did at Nil…”
“So…” She was really close. Too close. He couldn’t think .
“So,” she said, “yes. Of course I want to be exclusive with you. That’s exactly what I wanted to ask you… mon chaton .”
“U-uh, so…” Was that a yes? No, wait, she’d even said yes!
“So we’re together. Exclusively. And I want you to kiss me.”
“U-uh, yeah, yeah, I can do that…”
She, apparently, didn’t want to discuss this further, because she closed the gap between them and kissed him.
Out on the streets, Adrien could hear the fireworks. For a second, he thought that it was in his mind, like in a cheesy rom com… but no. It was New Year’s Eve. People had been lighting fireworks on the street on the way to Marinette and Alya’s apartment.
“You know,” Marinette said when she pulled away. “An awful lot of girls are going to be heartbroken over this.”
Adrien smiled. “I think they’ll adjust.”