As the clock ticked closer to midnight, Serinal settled down on the couch once more, handing the glass of champagne over to Vic who thanked him graciously. Once again he’d sat just a little closer than she was strictly comfortable with without knowing it, as was his habit, but she didn’t complain. Any other man and she probably would have adjusted her stance or gotten up, but for some reason with him it never seemed to bother her anymore. Perhaps it was because of the way he would always brush up against new things or people he hadn’t encountered in a while, running his fingers against them lightly. So often had she felt those long, slender digits trail over her wrist or along her shoulder, perhaps it had broken down the usual bubble of space she liked to keep, if only for him.
Vic realized she’d been staring at the man as he watched the tv, the usual idle smile that seemed to be his default expression playing across his lips, shaggy auburn hair falling just short of his eyes, and looked down at the glass in her hands, color rising to her cheeks. It had occurred to her before that Serinal was a good looking man; after all she’d noticed it the first time they’d really met at that party their parents had dragged them to, but it hadn’t really sunk in until now. His eyes were a bright, almost shining blue, and his long nose ended in an appealing point that matched his sharp cheekbones. She’d noticed crinkles forming in the corners of his eyes over the past year, probably from all the genuine smiling he’d been doing. She also knew he liked to keep himself fit, despite how much he ate and seemed to love food, resulting in lean, strong muscles that filled out his otherwise disproportionately tall and lanky body, though you wouldn’t know it through the baggy clothes he preferred.
The hairs on the back of Vic’s neck prickled and she glanced up to see Serinal watching her, looking away just before their eyes met, a blush coloring his own cheeks. He cleared his throat unconsciously, looking for a way to distract himself and his eyes alit upon the pile of sleeping little bodies nearby. Again a smile spread across his lips and he let out a little satisfied sigh.
"Can you believe it’s been over a year?" He asked, reaching down and running a hand through Lanelt’s black hair, comforting the little troll as he squirmed in his sleep. He, Al and Skylar had wanted to stay up for the midnight count down, but the excitement had worn the three of them down and now they slumbered, all curled up together where they’d fallen at the foot of the couch.
Vic nodded, smiling warmly as well. ”It feels like just yesterday I found that crate in my living room. There’s been so much happening in between though…”
Ser grinned. ”Remember when Lane and Skylar lured you over here and set us up on that date?” He said, laughter in his voice. Vic mirrored his expression and pushed the taller man, making the laughter come out in full.
"Shut up, it wasn’t a date. We just went and got sushi together," She said, her tone playful.
"Yes, and since then we’ve been going out for dinner just about every week. Not to mention we rarely have nights where one of us isn’t over at the other’s house."
Vic frowned slightly, considering the words that had been meant in jest, yet seemed to ring truer for her than she’d expected. ”So… Does that mean we’re dating?” She asked after a short pause.
Serinal blinked, and turned to look at her. He opened his mouth to speak, but the only thing that came out was a nervous little chuckle and he closed it again, clearing his throat. After a few moments he finally spoke up. ”Look, Vic, it’s been a long year… Or… Or a short one, I’m not really sure anymore, but… With everything that’s happened, finding Lane and Skylar and Al… I couldn’t think of a person I’d rather have spent it with than you. And I’d like to keep spending it with you.”
For a moment Vic didn’t say a word, her breath caught in her throat. Then she felt another laugh bubbling up in her chest and it all burst out at once. ”Oh my God, Ser, you always have to have those little speeches of yours don’t you?” She said, barely able to speak through the laughter.
The tall man blinked, then grinned and laughed along as well. ”Yeah, yeah I guess I do.” Vic shook her head and leaned into him, still smiling, wrapping her arm around his skinny yet tough body and squeezing him in a hug. Slowly the two of them sobered and there was another quiet pause as they watched the ceremony run quietly on the television in front of them.
"So, I guess this means we are dating then doesn’t it," She said at last. Ser looked down at her, blue eyes nearly glowing in the warm light.
"Yeah, I guess it does…" He said back, and she saw something smoldering in their depths, something she’d seen before but hadn’t recognized until now.
"Think we should seal it… With a kiss?" She said, her words barely audible as he leaned closer.
"3…" The tv chimed in. His eyes were a giant, blue ocean she couldn’t escape from and didn’t think she wanted to.
"2…" She could feel his breath on her. It smelled ever so slightly minty. Her heart was pounding in her chest
"1…" His lips barely brushed her’s, sending waves of sensation through her body, like she’d just touched something electric.
"Happy new year!" Their lips met in a kiss, and she closed her eyes, leaning into it, letting herself simply take in everything through her other senses, the way she knew he did with his. It was warm and gentle, yet firm and somehow, inexplicably, right.
The glasses of champagne sparkled in the warm light from Ser’s kitchen, letting off little bubbles that reflected the room. They’d been abandoned long before, not even stained with prints from lips. Outside snow drifted to the ground, the first of the new year. Three young trolls sniffled in their sleep, snuggled together, unaware of the starting of a new story that they had begun.
((More projects. This one’s a year into a story I’m calling A Place To Come Home To. Hope you like it. Oh, and happy new year.))