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So Close (Yet So Far)

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“I don’t understand...I pulled out all my tricks! That navy dress? I bought it last week! This lip color? Bought that today! I even laughed at his stupid jokes and ignored his emotional side. And he had the nerve to tell me I was being a bitch? When did I turn into the bad guy?”

“Taking a stab in the dark here, but maybe it’s that whole cussing out the waiter thing that you did?”

Chloe Bourgeois rolled her eyes as she stabbed her takeout with a fork, “First of all, understand that the waiter was an idiot,” mirth settled into the teal eyes watching her, it was a toss up if it came from her speaking with such energy or her trying to talk through a mouthful of food, “he was! He brought the wrong bottle of wine! If he’s going to work at an up-scale restaurant, he should know the difference between them and bring out the right one. Second of all, I’m Chloe Bourgeois! That sorry excuse for a man should have had a basic understanding of who he was going to have dinner with.”

Luka gave her an affectionate smile as he continued to press his thumbs into the ball of her left foot.

This wasn’t what he had planned for his Friday night, but he surely wasn’t going to complain or comment on it. The tall blonde showed up on his doorstep rather suddenly, considering she had a date with one of Adrien’s model friends. He wasn’t expecting to hear from her until the next morning, at the earliest. There she had been, however, shoving a bag of hot takeout into his chest, kicking off her heels in the entryway.

Without a word, she had retreated to his bedroom, soon reemerging in dark green cotton pajama shorts with a tank top to match. He’d set up the food on his weathered coffee table and now, thirty vehement minutes later, they were still hashing out the details of her short-lived date.

“I don’t know why Adrien thought someone like Daniel would give me any kind of a good time,” she grumbled, an annoyed dejection flashing through her features. Her fork scratched against the plate, “Think I should get him blacklisted?”

“Chloe!”

She looked up at him, innocence on her face and a mischievous glint in her eyes, “What? It’s an honest question!”

Luka rolled his eyes, knowing it was, “Yeah, your date went wrong and he was an ass, but you don’t need to ruin the guy’s career, Chlo. Just forget about him and move on.”

She pouted, taking in his words, and his eyes lingered on her lips before she spoke again, “Speaking of moving on, it’s been ages since you went on a date, Blueberry. Why’s that, hmm? Not still hung up on Dupain-Cheng, are you?”

Luka did his best to fight the burn blooming on his cheeks, trying to focus on massaging her other foot, “As much as I liked her and everything, no, I’m not still hung up on Marinette,” he heard Chloe scoff and he looked up at her, catching her eye, “For real, Chlo. It’s been, as you said, ages. I’m over her. There just...hasn’t been anyone interested, that’s all.”

Chloe set her plate onto the coffee table, an incredulous tone in her voice, “Bullshit, Couffaine. I saw those girls flinging themselves at you after your performance last week,”

“Jealous?” He teased and laughed at her glaring response. He focused on her manicured toes, “I wasn’t interested in them,”

Minutes passed silently. He could feel her blue gaze boring holes into the side of his face and he refused to look up at her. Just as he began to work on relieving the stress in her foot again, she pulled both feet away, “Enough of that. Play me something on that stringed noisemaker of yours.”

“You mean my guitar?” he clarified, lips spreading into a smile.

“Yeah, yeah, that,” Chloe leaned over him, attempting to get the guitar perched by his side of the couch.

Luka’s breath stopped, having her suddenly so close, her left hand up high on his thigh for support. He could feel her body, could see the light freckles adorning her shoulder, could smell her expensive flowery perfume. He could even feel the wisps of blonde hair falling out of her bun tickling his nose.

“Why is this thing so heavy?” She complained with a groan, unable to pick up the guitar one-handed.

He laughed, reaching for it himself and pushed past the brush of their fingers, though it still made his heart beat faster. She sat back down, closer to him than she originally had been, and huffed when he got it off its stand.

Luka tuned the instrument for a few minutes, before Chloe voiced her impatience.

“Well, come on then. I want to forget that date ever happened,” out of his peripheral, he saw her peek a glance at him, “And forget the image of you and Dupain-Cheng I have burned into my brain.”

He openly laughed, missing the smile gracing her lips. He began to move his fingers on and off the strings, strumming almost absentmindedly. One of his favorite things was playing for her. Chloe never held back her opinion, whether good or bad. She typically requested him to play when she had emotions she didn’t want to quite figure out or when she couldn’t keep them at bay any longer, he’d noted. And often, his music lulled her into sleep. It would be then when he’d get the opportunity to study her face and he did so, countless times, trying to burn the image of her into his brain.

She pulled up the soft blanket which had fallen onto the floor earlier and wrapped it around her. She laid her head on his shoulder and he could feel the gentle rise and fall of her chest. Soon enough, she fell asleep against him.

Luka played for a few minutes longer, shamelessly enjoying the feel of having her so close. Only when her head began to slip off of him, did he stop. He set the guitar down on the other side of her body before snaking one arm around her waist and other under her knees. He stood up, pulling her flush against him and smiled when buried her face into his chest.

He took her to his room and placed her on his bed, pulling up the unmade covers over her body, tucking her in. Chloe snuggled closer into his pillow and breathed out a contented sigh.

He knew that this girl would surely end up being the death of him.

--

What initially made Chloe stir was the noise from the chirping birds on the other side of the thin exterior wall. Mumbling incoherently, she flipped her body over. Sunlight flitted through the blinds, flashing sporadically on her eyelids and she let out a groan. She pulled the comforter over her head in a final attempt to continue sleeping, but the heavy thuds shaking the walls from above had her giving up.

Shoving the covers off her face, she looked around the room. Of course she wasn’t in her own bed, in her own room. Her walls wouldn’t have shaken and her blinds would never betray her. Luka never wavered, though, when she tried to get him to move to more upscale rentals. So this was her fate whenever she chose to not make the effort to go back to the hotel. Chloe let out another groan before she pushed herself up.

Her feet took her to the adjoined bathroom and she spent a few minutes cleaning herself up. She smirked when she grabbed her skincare products off of the shelf next to the mirror. Did Dupain-Cheng have that when she kept company with Luka? Probably not, she snorted. They were very short-lived, much like her date. Brushing her teeth in the tiniest bathroom she’d ever been in had her rethinking coming over. Maybe she should just tell him to come to her from now on instead.

As she finished up, the door suddenly burst open, her heart nearly leaping out of her chest.

“There you are,” Luka breathed.

She scoffed before mumbling, “Not if you would have taken me out with that door,”

She caught his cheeks turning pink in the mirror, “Sorry, thought you might’ve left already,”

“You know I don’t wake up early on Saturdays. Where were you, though? It didn’t look like you slept on the bed last night,” she continued to study his reflection, seeing him look away while scratching the back of his head.

“The couch. I thought it might be more comfortable that way,”

Chloe eyed him skeptically, fighting a smirk as she said her next words, “Uh huh. Because sleeping with me would have been uncomfortable?”

Coughing rather loudly, Luka changed the subject, “You hungry? I got some food on hand if you wanted to stay in a bit longer.”

Chloe stretched her arms up, feeling a cool breeze on her midriff as her shirt rode up, “I hardly think frozen waffles count as food,” she noticed Luka looked even more flushed, “let’s just go out, my treat.”

“In your dress from last night or your pajamas?” he questioned, nodding to her shorts and tank top.

Her lips finally slipped into a smirk as she squeezed past him in the doorway, “I’m always prepared if I stay the night with you, you know that,”

She didn’t fail to catch the embarrassment in his voice, “Yes, the drawer, right,”

“Is it a problem?” she leaned against the frame of the bedroom door, arms folded under her chest, “You didn't seem to mind before,”

Luka shook his head, “No, I don’t mind. It’s convenient, I’ve got the space for it, and it helps you. You thinking of the cafe down the street for food?”

“Depends. What time is it?” her eyes searched his room for her phone, “They stop serving breakfast at ten, lunch isn’t nearly as good, and even my influence won’t make them extend breakfast hours.”

“Your phone is charging in the living room. It’s almost noon,” Luka answered.

Chloe groaned again, heading straight for her designated drawer, “Of course it is. Maybe that restaurant by the hotel, then? The Italian one?”

She heard his footsteps follow her and soon he was standing next to her, opening his own drawers, “That one is pretty pricey, isn’t it? Especially for lunch?”

Holding her clothes in her hands, she stood and stared at him until he turned to look at her, “I told you it’d be my treat. Take it as a thank you for putting up with my venting last night.”

He grumbled a response as she walked into the bathroom to change. She slipped into a summer dress and made a face at herself in the mirror when she remembered that this particular number had a rather difficult zipper to do up in the back. As she carefully crafted her messy bun, she wondered whether or not she’d brought over this dress on purpose. It would be something she’d do.

“Hey, Blueberry! I need your help,” she said, walking into the bedroom, where he had just finished pulling up his socks, “I can’t do the zipper up on this dress. Little help?”

Without another word, Chloe’s back was suddenly to him and she inspected her nails, smirk growing larger on her face the longer he took. She glanced over her shoulder at him and was surprised to find him standing behind her, eyes staring at her exposed back.

“Luka?” she asked, her voice springing him into action.

“Black lace, huh? How quintessentially Chloe,” he teased, his voice deep, fingers lightly brushing her skin.

An eruption of goosebumps appeared on her arms and a shiver ran down her spine at the sensation, though she pointedly ignored them both, “Some of us like to dress our age and find that bubblegum pink cotton bras are a little too...schoolgirl,”

“I didn’t know you still had an opinion on Marinette’s undergarments,”

When he pulled his hands away, she turned to look at him, “Her own fault for carelessly leaving them behind and yours for keeping them long after she left. I bet you cuddled them, huh? Did you use them instead of a teddy bear?”

Luka rolled his eyes, shook his head, and placed his hands on her shoulders. He turned her around and steered her out of the room, “You’re ridiculous, you know that? Utterly ridiculous,” he felt her huff, “And you sure have a lot to say about Marinette,”

“She’s been the bane of my existence for as long as I can remember. Then she had to be all into Adrien, then you, and then back to Adrien. If anyone is ridiculous, it’s her, not me.” Chloe bristled.

He chuckled as he opened the small closet by the entrance. He quickly found his shoes and then spotted an extra pair she had hiding in there. Luka handed it to her, a lopsided smile on his lips, “Come on. Let’s get some food in you before you get any more hangry,”

--

Upon sitting down at her designated table - because, of course, she had a designated table - Luka learned that the wait staff, also, remembered her by name, and to his surprise, she knew theirs. Her laugh rang through the air, tugging his lips upwards as he gaped at her. Despite all their talks, their hangouts, she failed to mention just how often she visited this restaurant. Barring the new knowledge, though, their lunch passed rather typically.

She ordered an expensive wine and demanded he take a sip, if only to reaffirm her convictions of great taste. He slipped away from the table before their entrees arrived, speaking to their waiter hidden from her view. After, he pierced through many a shrimp on her plate, pointedly ignoring her glares. As their meal ended, Luka pulled his phone out of his pocket. Ignoring Chloe’s stare, he effortlessly opened an app, tapped a few icons, and promptly put it away, as if nothing had ever happened.

“Must be something interesting or important,” she commented, taking a sip from her glass, eyes still watching him.

One end of his lips pulled up into a lopsided smile, “Just needed to take care of something real quick,”

“Uh huh,” Chloe replied, “Anyways, going back to normal, I’ll see you tomorrow at the shops?”

“You really are determined to get me into a suit, aren’t you?” Luka questioned, eyebrows raised.

She nodded once, “Just think of how handsome you’ll look if you dress the part. Please? For me?”

He rolled his eyes to fight the heat creeping up on his face, “How could I say no to you, Chlo?”

“Mademoiselle, monsieur, is there anything more I can do for you this afternoon?” the waiter interrupted, his gaze bouncing back and forth between the two.

“That’ll be all, Alfred. Please put the balance on my tab,” Chloe instructed, beginning to gather her things.

The waiter’s eyes met Luka’s and gave him a nod, “Of course. It was a pleasure to serve you today. Please do come again soon,”

With that, Alfred took his leave and stood by the till. Not skipping a beat, Luka walked with her to the main entrance.

“Thank you for suggesting lunch, Chlo. We really should come more often,”

“If you’d let me treat you to lunch more often, we will,”

Warm lips touched both his cheeks as his brushed hers. Chloe pulled back momentarily before pulling him into a tight hug. His hands rubbed her back softly, feeling her warm breath against his neck.

“Thanks for vent and stay over. You are truly the best, Blueberry.”

He kissed her temple, “Anytime, Chlo, anytime.”

The smile on her lips lit up her entire face and Luka could have sworn that it lit up the entire room, too. She bid her final goodbyes before walking out. A silly grin had formed on his face, his body feeling light as he pivoted and walked right back into the restaurant’s dining room, searching for Alfred.

“Ah, Monsieur Couffaine, I trust your meal was enjoyable,” the waiter greeted, a smirk on his lips as he pulled a receipt out from behind the podium and scanned it.

“It really was. Thank you,”

“Of course. We know to treat Mademoiselle Bourgeois well, as well as yourself. She speaks very highly of you,”

A slow burn worked its way up onto Luka’s face, “She does? Well, all the more reason to let her think she paid,”

Without another word, he handed a plastic card over and soon, their transaction was complete.

As Luka strode into the foyer once again, an unfamiliar voice called out to him.

“Excuse me!” A brunette rushed over to him, a shy smile on her face, “I apologize for overhearing and perhaps for stepping out of my bounds, but what you did for your girlfriend there was really sweet, secretly paying for her and all. She’s absolutely lucky to have you,”

Luka couldn’t help the smile on his lips, “Thanks. She’s my best friend, not my girlfriend, so I do what I can. But thank you,”

As he began to turn away, a light hand touched his forearm, “Really? I can’t imagine why she wouldn’t want your affections in that way,” the brunette tossed her hair over her shoulder, beginning to walk past him towards the doors, “Either way, very sweet,”