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A Casual Lunch

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"Really, you're being ridiculous," Belle teased as she watched Ruby pace the mostly empty bar. It had taken some time to enjoy the hangout again, her memories still muddied up with Lacey, but since Belle had taken the brave step to be her own person making her own choices, this place had been one of them.

Well that, and the hothead getting herself all worked up over nothing. While her last lover had been a monster in the guise of a man, this lovely woman's monster was only skin deep. And thankfully predictable.

Trying to swallow her inappropriate amusement, Belle finally reached out to grab Ruby's sleeve, jerking hard to throw the larger woman off balance. From there, it was easy to grab the trailing ends of the flannel shirt and drag her close. A lingering kiss finished derailing the growing snit fit and at last the werewolf started to calm.

"Just. Friends," she murmured and Ruby blew out a hard breath and snuggled her face down into Belle's shoulder.

"Sorry," was the apologetic grumble into the fabric and Belle grinned fully before choking it down again. Really, possessive Ruby didn't bother her, as she was remarkably light-handed about it, the pacing and grumbling notwithstanding.

"Accepted. Now park your ass and relax so that you can enjoy the day."

"Yes ma'am," Ruby sighed melodramatically, but her well-formed mouth was hiding a smile. Right on cue a distinctly nervous Ariel crept in and Belle's grin threatened to grow into a laugh. The poor redhead was quite intimidated by Ruby, who was mostly all bark and no bite.

"You stay," she ordered and ignored Ruby sticking her tongue out to go and give the former mermaid a big hug. "Glad you could make it."

"Is she still mad?"

"Oh please, just cut the wolf some slack and we'll all be fine. Indulge me in lunch and we'll all be friends by the time we leave."

"If you say so."

Even as the friends approached the table, Ruby straightened up from her petulant slouch and was abruptly the very picture of polite. It didn't fool anybody, but she did start to authentically relax with Belle's hand curled around her thigh while the friend's caught up. Thankfully, Ariel's bubbly charm surfaced quickly and even Ruby found herself grinning. When the redhead excused herself in the middle of lunch to use the restroom, Belle looked expectantly at her girlfriend. For a moment, Ruby pretended to ignore the pointed look before giving in with another mocking sigh,

"Fine, you win. She's nice and obviously crazy about her Eric. Am I forgiven for being growly now?"

Giggling, Belle hugged Ruby close and kissed her lingeringly, not giving a damn who might be in the room.

"Yes, you're forgiven. You can make it up to me later."

She was still giggling over Ruby's leer when Ariel returned to be startled and pleased by the sudden warm acceptance from the wolf. She hadn't expected it and was warmed at suddenly being allowed to truly see the bond that had grown between the seemingly odd couple.

But love could always see past differences to the soul within.