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Buy me dinner first

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Carefully she blew out the last candle.
The trail of smoke coming from it, dancing upward in an elegant manner in the remaining light in the room.

“I’m sorry.” She heard Adrien mutter from his spot on the couch.

Marinette shot him a patient smile.

If she had learned anything in recent years, it was that sometimes even her most well thought out plan could be flipped on it's head on a whim.
This was just another one of those times.

“Don’t be. You messaged me that you were going to be running late.”

“That’s no excuse. We planned this and...I didn't think it would go on for another two hours.”

The young woman turned to see a defeated look on her partner’s face.
One she had seen too many times over the past few months.

“It’s also not your fault.”

“I suppose…”

“Listen Chaton…” She made her way towards him, plopping down on her mother’s couch. Sitting close enough to let their shoulders touch. “We both know these meetings for the sake of the company have been eating up most of your time. I am not now, not ever, going to blame you for not being able to make it to a date. Because I know you have little control over these meetings and they are needed to fix the mess that man has left behind.”

“Still...it feels like I’m putting my work before you. Before everyone else. And I don’t want that. That’s what he did and…”

“Adrien. It’s not your fault. You’re doing what you need to do and it’s only temporary right? Besides, you still made it here.”

“It’s been a long ‘temporary’ six months though.” He chuckled. “And I needed to see you. I feel like I don’t see you enough these days.”

“Well with Nino and Alya on their honeymoon, I am going to need my co-host back for those baking videos. We should be able to spend more time together that way if you want to?”

The defeated look on his face was quickly replaced with one of determination. “Mari. I’ll be there. I promise.”

Her lips curled up into another smile before the young woman let her head rest against him.

“Thank you. It will be fun, just the two of us.”

“I’m still sorry. We planned this. Tonight was going to be…”

“Special?”

He nodded. “In a way. I mean...you already seemed to have made it special and why wouldn’t you. This was supposed to be our official first date.”

Adrien gestured to the scene before them.

Aside from the blown out candles, Marinette had gone the extra length to place a few red roses around the room.
Two of which sitting in a small vase near their empty dinner plates.

“I wanted it to be romantic.” The dark haired girl pouted. “For you.”

He let out a small chuckle. “Now I feel even more guilty for being late.”

“So what if you’re late for dinner and this wasn’t supposed to be a casual hangout like we usually do. Maybe I did end up wasted a good hour getting all of this ready between baking the sixth batch of croissants and decorating cupcakes today.”

“That actually sounds impressive.”

“Thank you. But I want to say...despite all the setbacks tonight, you’re still here and we can still spend time together. I don’t know about you, but that’s the most important thing to me.”

“I know...it’s just...I’m not going to lie Bug. I’m a little disappointed.”

“With? Oh. Oh don’t tell me I needed to use more roses.”

“No! No. Just with myself. I mean...this is the first time in months where we don’t have to run around helping our friends arranging their wedding. Most of the bullshit with the company was supposed to resolved already. I was so certain I was going to be able to make it tonight and not finish up late.”

“Adrien. Didn’t you listen to what I just said? You’re here. That’s all that matters to me.”

“I know.”

She watched as he let himself fall against the back of the couch.
His head thrown back as far as the piece of furniture allowed.

Marinette could clearly see the exhaustion on his face, despite it being somewhat dark in the room.
It pained her whenever he forced a smile her way.

At this point, she had no doubt that the whole ordeal with Gabriel had left some emotional scars on her partner.
Scars, she hoped, would heal in due time.

“Do you want to sleep over? Have breakfast with me and maman?”

“That sounds nice Bug.”

“We might have trouble pulling Tikki and Plagg away from their shows and off the bed though.” She tried to joke.

He lifted his head and gave her a smile.

Another forced one, she quickly realised.
It absolutely didn't suit him.

“You know…”

Marinette wasn’t even sure what happened until she found herself being pulled against him.
Her head resting on his chest.
His chin nestling in her dark hair.

“This is a good spot for a nap too.” He continued.

“Maman will find us when she gets back from madame Chamack’s. You do know that right?”

“Not the first time Princess.”

Her Chaton let out a short chuckle before a brief moment of silence fell between them.
For a while, all she could hear was the ticking of the clock in the kitchen, their own breathing and his steady heartbeat.

“Have I thanked you by the way?”

“For what?” She found herself asking with a hint of confusion in her voice.

“For sticking by me. For being so understanding. Despite not being able to spend as much time with you as before the last few months.”

“Yeah.” Marinette sighed softly. “You have. More than I can count.”

“Well...thank you again Bugaboo.” He moved to place a short kiss against her cheek. “Thank you.”

“You do you know you don’t have to thank me for that. Right?”

Another kiss was pressed against her cheek.
The arm he had wrapped around her, pressing her closer against him.

“I know. But it just...how did you say it again back then? It feels right to. Because...well...I don’t know. It still feels so unreal that I almost lost you last year and every morning I wake up, I feel so lucky to still have you in my life. To have you like this in my life.”

The baker’s daughter felt a blush creep up on her cheeks.

She couldn’t help it.

The way he spoke so fondly about her never ceased to make her heart stop beating for a few milliseconds.
Even if he exhaustion dripped off every word passing his lips.

“Me too. I mean! I...I’m really happy we’re together. I’m happy I get to tell you how much I love you. Even if it’s not always straight to your face.”

He loosened the grip on her shoulder.
A slight frown on his face.

“Mari?”

“Yes?”

“I’ve eh...I’ve been thinking about something these past few months. And the other day at Nino’s and Alya’s wedding...when we talked about having a family well...”

“Yes?” She asked.

“Since then I actually wanted to ask you something. Well...no...since before that even.”

“You can ask me anything. You know that Chaton.”

“I know. It’s just.... I can understand if you need time to give me an answer....and it’s not like I haven’t asked you this before….but… Do you want to move in together? Or at least think about it?”

She wasn’t sure how to react to that.

Let alone answer that.

A big part of her screamed at her that she should accept his offer.

An equally big part held her back from answering directly, because...

“What about maman.”

She couldn’t leave the woman alone in this big, empty, house.

Could she?
She draped her arm over his stomach, letting her head once agains rest on his chest.

“I’ll think about it.” Marinette muttered softly before closing her eyes.

He didn’t respond, nor push her to give a definite answer.
The blonde's breathing only became a tad more shallow.
His heartbeat slightly more slower.

It wasn't long until she found herself being lulled to sleep by the sound of his soft snores.