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Never in his life had Axel felt more relaxed. Okay, no, there were probably a number of times, likely at the behest of his agent, but right now was definitely number one. Nice and warm, comfortably dressed, oddly fascinated with how Harper was taking painting his nails so seriously. 

She’d even massaged his arms, before doing a while bunch of things with his cuticles, some buffer and an undercoat. Very technical and practical, and wildly hilarious to watch. Any comments about her focus had been cut off with a shush!, not that it deterred him in the slightest. For now, Axel just opted to stare at her forehead, until she finally looked up. And she should know, he wasn’t one to give up so easily, especially when it came to staring contests.

“Stop it,” Harper finally says, tone only suggesting a mild annoyance, undercut by the smile she wore. 

So, he asks with complete innocence, “stop what?”

That gets him a look that tells him it was worth it. From the looks of things, she was nearly done, anyway. Over the solid black nail polish that had become somewhat signature, she’d drawn a delicate bird on his left hand, flying across his nails, and stars on his right. It was absolutely adorable, and definitely begged for something to inconvenience the drying stage. Such as the tiniest speck of dust, which had Harper frown and mutter something about starting over.

At that, Axel saves his hands from being spread out any longer, clutching them to his chest. “It looks great. Don’t worry about it.”

“But it’s ruined.” And she stresses the word so much, Axel almost believes her. Except he knows better, and that Harper was just ridiculously over the top about tiny details like a speck of dust. That was sure to pay off in the long run, but right now, not so much.

“The only people who know are you, me, and the bed.” Wiggling his eyebrows at the suggestion, Axel does get a laugh out of her, even if she goes to sadly tighten the tops of the bottles. A gradual pile had appeared on the side of his bed, stuff that was both of theirs, and Axel could now happily add nail polish to that list. Progression indeed.

While she was preoccupied with cleaning up, gathering up toothpicks and cotton buds, Axel did take some time to hold his nails up into the light. He was sure she said something about foil, and couldn’t say he had much expertise in this particular field, but they really did look amazing. Happily repeating it out loud, as Harper had finally untangled herself from herself, throwing rubbish into the bin next to his desk. 

“The foil does look nice, doesn’t it?” Despite the momentary pause, as if she was going to say something negative, Harper did look remarkably pleased with herself. Although Axel fondly recalled not ten minutes ago, with her swearing up and down about how to cut the tiny pieces. It was hilarious with how she got so worked up over it.

Padding back over, Harper stands at the edge of the bed, hands on hips. Something in her face told him that she wanted to say something, but couldn’t get it out. Axel had thought that focusing on painting nails was a distraction from whatever was bothering her, just didn’t want to point it out too early, lest it deter her from spending time with him. Maybe it was the upcoming showcase. Maybe it was whatever Tadashi spoke to her about yesterday. Or, it could’ve been the looming end of year, whilst still three months away, only seemed to pile more pressure on those who needed to finish on a high note.

Axel simply opts for the best option to get the information out of her, which was to lean so far forward, that his head met her directly in her chest, arms going around her middle. Trapping her in a hug, pulling her forward enough that she was forced to almost kneel on the bed to keep steady. It has the instant, desired effect, of Harper harping on about him, and for his effort, he shakes his head a bit, before dissolving into laughter. 

“I swear to god, Axel, if you get nail polish on my shirt…!”

Priorities, he wants to say, except her hands go to thread through his hair, leaving him with the ability to only huff out a sigh. “Your tits are so soft.”

“Oh my god, you’re terrible.”