Written by PaperandInk (Emery)
Marinette took a deep breath as she looked at herself in her vanity mirror and smoothed down her skirt. She had debated if her tights were a bit much. She had changed out of them, then completely changed her outfit twice before finally putting back on her first choice.
It was her first actual date with Luka. Ever since his confession she couldn’t stop thinking about him. Her feelings for him were different from how she felt about Adrien. She felt just as strongly for each of them… but different. She hadn’t completely sorted it all out yet, but going out with Luka seemed like a good place to start.
“Luka’s here,” her mom called up to her.
Marinette’s stomach clenched and her feet froze. She wanted to go down there but apprehension kept her in front of the vanity.
Tikki flew out of her place in her chosen’s purse. “Marinette? Don’t you want to go down and see Luka?”
“I do!” she insisted, perhaps too enthusiastically. “I really do, but… What if…”
“What is it?”
“What if I like him… more than I like Adrien?”
Marinette hugged herself and looked away. She felt silly for being concerned about liking Luka more. Wasn’t that why she was going out with him, because she liked him?
“Would that be a bad thing?” Tikki asked it sincerely. There was no judgement or bias and Marinette appreciated it immensely.
“I don’t know. Adrien is Adrien and Luka is… Luka. I’m making no sense.” She put both hands on her hips and sighed. “I shouldn’t keep him waiting.”
Tikki flew back into the purse and poked her head out. “I’m sure it will all work out just fine.”
Marinette smiled down at her kwami. “Thanks, Tikki.”
She opened the trap door and took another deep breath. She could do this. It was just Luka, she talked to him all the time.
Marinette climbed down the ladder and turned to see Luka sitting on the couch talking with her dad. He looked so casual in his usual jean jacket, t-shirt, and jeans. She suddenly felt over dressed. She should’ve went with the pink jeans and ruffled blouse.
Her mom was the first to spot her from where she stood setting the table for only two that night. Her mom gave her a wink and a thumbs up. Marinette was tempted to run back upstairs before Luka noticed her.
“Honey, you look beautiful!” her dad announced, giving away her presence.
Luka looked over and smiled as he stood. “You look great, Marinette.”
“Thanks. You- you look good too.”
He laughed and gestured to himself. “Oh, this old thing. I just threw it together.”
The one minute warning on the oven beeped and Tom jumped in with, “Dinner should be ready soon if the two of you want to eat before you go. We have more than enough and Luka was just telling me about his guitar pick collection.”
“I’m sure that they need to get going,” Sabine said as she gave the teens a meaningful look.
Marinette floundered for a way out. She loved her dad but sometimes he didn’t quite know how to take a hint.
Luka smoothly put a hand on her back and directed her towards the door. “I would love to stay and chat some more, Mr. Dupain-Cheng, but if we don’t leave now we’ll be late. I’ll plan to stay for a while next time.”
“Well, I’ll be looking forward to it.”
As Luka closed the door behind them, Marinette could hear her dad saying, “That Luka is such a polite boy.”
On the walk to the metro station, Marinette found herself babbling. She actually went on about the color of her tights (light blue) for five full minutes. It seemed that as friends she could actually sound like a person who knew how to have a conversation, but knowing they were on a date somehow changed things.
Marinette made a conscious effort to press her lips together. Maybe I’m just not good at having feelings for someone. She pushed her hair behind her ear and looked down.
Luka looked over at her and he stopped just before the stairs down to the metro. “Why’d you stop talking? Is something wrong?”
“No! No, nothing at all. I’m not really tasting- I mean talking about anything that matters.”
He frowned and took her hand. “I like listening to you talk. What people say does matter. You just have to know how to listen. You’re concerned about your tights. I like them. They look cute.”
“Th- thank you, Luka.” Warmth started in her chest and radiated outward. He always seemed to know the right things to say. Maybe what they said about opposites attracting had something to it. She hopelessly fumbled with words while Luka managed to sound poetic when saying even the most mundane things.
Marinette cleared her throat and looked away, feeling a blush creeping up her cheeks.
“We should get down to the metro,” Luka suggested as he began to lead her down the stairs, still holding her hand. “But don’t be afraid to tell me anything your heart desires.”
“Well, umm… I was just wondering where we’re going. I don’t think you ever told me what you had planned.” She’d been too dazed after realizing she’d just accepted a date with Luka.
He gave her a sly smile. “It was going to be a surprise but I can tell you if you really want to know.”
Determined not to ruin the date, Marinette shook her head vigorously. “I can wait.”
“You’ve never peeked at your presents before Christmas, have you.” It was a statement, like he was proud that he had her figured out.
“Nope. But I bet you were the kind of kid who pretended to be patient but went to peek as soon as you had the chance,” she teased right back.
He squeezed her hand, startling her with the reminder that he was physically touching her.
“You know me too well,” he told her with a wink.
Marinette didn’t want to assume, but when she saw that they were headed right towards a building with a banner hanging over the doors she felt her excitement building. The background of the banner was hundreds of sketches of fashion designs, then over it was “Exhibition of a History of Fashion”.
With each step closer she kept glancing over at him, searching for some sign of where they were going. Luka managed to keep a completely neutral expression as he looked ahead. But as they got closer the sides of his mouth began to turn up into a smile. He looked over to meet her eyes and Marinette smile back.
Then they passed the building. Luka didn’t even spare the crowd of well-dressed people going inside a glance. Marinette looked back over her shoulder at the event. She couldn’t help but think it was silly of her to assume that Luka would be taking her there. She had tried to get tickets, but by the time she had saved up for the most basic pass available (only to see the exhibits) they were sold out. It would’ve been a miracle for Luka to be able to get tickets when they’d only made plans for the date a week ago.
They stopped in front of a nearby food truck and Luka pulled out his wallet. “Do you know what you want?” he asked as he looked up at the menu.
Marinette looked up but couldn’t really focus on the words. She was more disappointed than she’d realized. But she couldn’t let Luka see that. He hadn’t promised her anything and it would still be a nice date, even if all they did was hang out. She took a deep breath to center herself. Enjoy this time with Luka. That’s what you’re here for.
“I’m not sure yet,” she told him.
“Well, we should eat fast if we want to get into the exhibition in time. I heard that they’re having a famous fashion designer speak tonight. They’re keeping a secret as to who though.”
Marinette turned to him and blinked several times, trying to process what he had just said. It was several long moments before it hit her. They were going to the exhibition!
“Wait, what?” She glanced back at the building, gaze landing on the banner, then back at him. “How?”
“Juleka won two tickets. She and Rose were gonna go but then Rose’s grandfather invited all of them to his spur of the moment wedding in Manchester. Juleka offered me the tickets so that I could take you.”
“Wow, that’s really nice of her. I’ll have to make sure to thank her at school tomorrow.” She took his hand and gave it a light squeeze. “And thank you, Luka. I can’t wait to get inside.”