<Marco? Where have you been all day? Prince Jake hasn’t heard from you.> Ax shifted his hooves against the soft ground, nervous energy being subtly released upon seeing his human friend delicately twisting out from the foliage surrounding their scoop. <I admit to feeling some concern myself over your disappearance.>
Marco titled his head down, and his short curls just barely brushed his right shoulder. Ax found himself keeping one stalk eye trained on the human’s soft hair as he began to speak.
“Worried over little old me, Ax-baby?”
His eyes widened frighteningly, and blood colored his cheeks red. Was Marco suffering from a human sickness? Had he simply not contacted them because he was resting?
All of these things things Ax wanted to say, but instead-
<I am not an infant, Marco?> Ax mimicked his friend’s body language to the best of his own anatomy, <But I have heard some of the men on the young and restless refer to their partners that way? It seems a strange endearment to give to one’s adult companion.>
“Adult companion-!” Marco seemed to choke out on his way over to the couch and landing harshly on his back.
<Are you ill? Should I call Prince Jake back? I‘m sure he’s still in my range?>
“No, no! It’s good, I’m fine!”
<If you’re ‘fine,’ why didn’t you come see me… See Prince Jake, I mean?>
Marco looked Ax up and down; from his eye-stalks, to his front hooves, somehow avoiding looking his directly into his eyes, and absently plucked at the sleeves of his over-sized garment. “Do you know what this is called, Ax?”
He gestured down his short frame, currently laid out all over the dirty upholstery, so Ax finally took more than a cursory glance at it than the first initial look.
Ax was confused, but he did so anyway, and answered confidently, <It’s a tuxedo. You wore one to last year’s school dance.>
<… Is there another dance today? Were you getting ready?> Why hadn’t anyone told Ax about this? Is that where Tobias had flown off to an hour ago?
Before he could start to investigate what that sour sensation in his stomach was Marco leaped from the couch, in a move so agile that it still shocked him humans could find the balance to do that, and withdrew a plastic container from the jacket’s hidden pocket.
“Now, do you know what this is?”
Inside the see-through box was an arrangement of orange earth flowers tied together with what appeared to be peacock feathers and a thin white piece of fabric. Actually, they looked to match the single flower pinned to Marco’s suit. <Roses.>
Marco bit his lip and brushed a lock of brown hair out of his eyes, “Roses for you.”
Ax blinked one set of his eyes, and stood straighter, unconsciously wanting to appear strong. This all seemed very familiar.
<Are you courting me, Marco?>
The blood filled out Marco’s cheeks once more, and Ax remembered the other reason humans flush. He was blushing. “Yeah… Yeah I am, Ax.”
Ax shuffled forward, to lean closer to his small friend, and he felt himself blush as well. <And- and I remember from your television that presenting flowers means-.>
“Means I’m asking’ you out on a date. For our own dance.”
Suddenly, in the branches above their camp site, small lights turned on and Ax could hear their radio being tuned just out of sight. Faint giggling was just barely perceived over the static.
“Thanks Cassie!” Marco called without turning his head.
“I helped too, you tiny sap!” Ax heard Rachel’s voice from somewhere behind him.
Marco almost opened his mouth to retort, but Ax grabbed ahold of his hands with one to hold them gently to his chest, while the other opened the container. <How do I accept?>
The human grinned so wide, but it was more than fine; Ax found Marco’s expressions to be the most fascinating. Pretty even.
Once Marco finished fastening the corsage (as he called it) to Ax’s thin wrist, the radio finally tuned in to a clear station. Earth singing still left something to be desired for Ax, but the girl’s had his best interest in mind. Soft piano filed the night air.
<This is much better than last year.>
“Because of the music?” Marco teased.
<Because I get to sway with you.>