Happy (belated) New Year y'all! Just saying, despite the title this is 100% appropriate content (unless you count hugs and kisses as inappropriate, in which case I suggest you read something else 😊).
"I don't know Alya... it looks freezing out there, how can I wear this? I'm going to just put my jacket back on."
Alya raised an eyebrow and snatched Marinette's jacket away from her.
"Girl, we both heard Adrien say there would be heating inside, so you really don't need your jacket. What's the big deal?" She asked as her mum pulled up into Adrien's driveway. Marinette groaned as they climbed out of the car, and she nervously fiddled with her outfit.
"The big deal is that I feel ridiculous in this dress, and it's Adrien's party! How can I go in there looking like this? His dad is like, my favourite designer!" She whimpered. Alya smirked and grabbed her arm, pulling her to the front door and waving at her mum as she drove off.
"Adrien is the one who set the formal dress code, you dork," Alya laughed. "You're not going to look ridiculous at all."
Marinette took a deep breath and nervously checked her hair in her reflection on the glass, and once she had smoothed down the front of her dress and Alya had reapplied lipstick, they stepped inside.
Adrien was stealthily making his way around the edge of the room. He kept glancing over his shoulder, and smiling charmingly at the occasional guest who seemed confused by his behaviour. Most were fooled by his determined walk though, as if he was on a mission to fetch more drinks or change the song. In reality he was making his way to the foyer: hopefully Chloe, in her tight, bright yellow dress, dramatic blue eyeshadow and thick, sticky pink lipstick, wouldn't be able to find him there, and he'd be able to greet anyone else turning up.
As he reached the top of the stairs in the foyer he faltered and stopped. Was that Ladybug stepping through the front door?!
No, it was just Alya and... Marinette? He barely recognised her. Her hair was down and fell in soft curls to her shoulders, framing her face beautifully and perfectly complimenting the elegant makeup she sported. Her bright blue eyes shone underneath a thin veil of gold eyeshadow and small wings, while her lips - Adrien felt his heart quicken - looked soft and full with a lipstick of deep red. She was speaking quietly to Alya, trying to take the jacket from her friend, who was grinning and refusing to yield it. Adrien's eye was drawn to her dress, which was absolutely stunning on her. She wore a navy chiffron dress which draped down to the floor like a midnight waterfall, and her earrings and necklace sparkled silver-white, giving her all the beauty and elegance of an enchanted winter night. It took all of Adrien's willpower to continue down the stairs towards the lovely sight, but he did it, and as she heard his footsteps she looked up at him and froze with an expression of nervous shock. He smiled and she smiled back, her cheeks tinged with pink as he reached them and hugged them both, warmly greeting them.
"Come in out of the cold you two! You both look lovely! Let me take your jacket Alya," he said, reaching for the jacket. Marinette made a small noise and he turned to her again.
"A-actually it's mine, a-and I... I'd rather have it," she stuttered, and he hesitantly held it out to her, confused.
"Are you sure you don't want me to hang it up?" He asked, and she shook her head, curls bouncing merrily.
"She wants to put it on because she thinks she looks ridiculous in that dress," Alya piped up, heading for the stairs. "Is Nino here yet Adrien?"
Adrien immediately replied, "yes he's inside, head straight up," and withdrew the jacket before Marinette could take it from his outstretched arms. She looked up at him, crestfallen, as he examined the jacket.
"As beautiful as this jacket is," he murmured, eyeing the stitching with admiration, "I highly doubt it could look better on you than that masterpiece you're currently wearing." He looked back up at her and smiled. "But if you'd like to wear it for a moment, perhaps a second opinion will help you decide whether or not to wear it for the night?"
He held up the jacket and she hesitantly slipped her arms into the sleeves, and he helped her into it. Once she had buttoned it up, he stepped back and stroked his chin, as if he were carefully considering how it looked on her. After a moment he spoke.
"Well M'lady, although it also looks lovely on you, I stand by my original comment: I doubt that anything could rival the beauty of your attire tonight, and besides, it is quite warm in here, you would be both uncomfortable and doing a great disservice to the party-goers who will all undoubtedly want to be graced by your stunning presence. I say remove the jacket at once!" He clapped his hands pompously, then grinned at the furiously blushing Marinette and took a step towards her.
She began to fumble with the buttons but when it took her over a minute to undo one, Adrien gently pushed her hand aside, looking questioningly at her. "Do you mind if I help?" He muttered, and she shook her head softly, still blushing. He swiftly unbuttoned it and slid it off her shoulders, then offered her his arm.
"Would you like to come hang this up with me?" He asked.
"W-wouldn't you rather get back to your guests? I can hang it up," she squeaked, but he patted her outstretched hand and tucked it under his arm.
"Between you and me, this party is for strictly promotional reasons, my father just wanted me to show off his new line of formal attire. And Chloe keeps following me around in one of my father's... less inspired pieces of work. I'm sure it would still look lovely on the likes of you," he winked at Marinette, who blinked in surprise and nearly tripped over her feet, "but Chloe's personality betrays her otherwise fine physical beauty."
He hung up the coat and then sighed, indicating that they ought to return to the party. As the music grew louder with every step, Adrien leaned down and said into Marinette's ear, "I should go and mingle, and you probably want to rejoin Alya... but if you have a chance tonight, please come and save me from any drab conversations I may be having, and save me a dance?" He grabbed her hand and raised it to his lips, lightly kissing it while looking into her eyes. He smiled charmingly and let go, turning on his heel and striding back into the party, wondering if he had overdone the 'charming gentleman' act. Marinette took a moment to compose herself before also starting the search for Alya.
"He kissed my hand Alya! And asked me to save him a dance! And he called me "M'lady"..." Marinette's excited tone dropped to one of confusion as she considered that. Why did he say that? That was not like Adrien at all, that was more Chat's style.
"Marinette? Is there something wrong with that, other than the fact that he was being completely charming and flirtatious and you spoke like, three words in reply?" Alya grinned, and Nino snorted.
"Leave her alone babe, I'm pretty sure 90% of the chicks here wouldn't be able to speak a word in his presence tonight, he's looking so dapper," Nino laughed with a hint of jealousy. Marinette sighed and leant her face on her hands, watching Adrien across the room, laughing politely and standing as elegantly as one possibly could while holding a can of Sprite, bless his soul. His smile took her breath away as usual, but the suit he was wearing was perfectly tailored to suit his model body and he just looked like the epitome of perfection tonight.
He turned to see her looking at him and he smiled, jolting his head upwards slightly before turning back to the conversation he was in. Frowning slightly, Marinette stood up and excused herself to "get a drink"... was she imagining it, or did he subtly beckon her over? She nervously made her way over to him, and just as she was trying to decide how to slide into their conversation, he turned and gasped in fake surprise at the sight of her.
"Oh, my darling Marinette! How are you?" He exclaimed, throwing his arms around her in a rough embrace. His can swung around and soft drink spurted from it onto his pants, and Marinette gasped. He looked at the large wet patch now on his crisp slacks in surprise and tutted loudly.
"Ugh, how horrible. Marinette, since that was your fault, won't you come and help me clean it up? So sorry gentlemen, we will be back once I've cleaned myself up." He grabbed Marinette's hand and steered her to the door, while people winced sympathetically as they saw his spoiled pants.
As soon as they were outside Marinette pulled her hand from his and crossed her arms across her chest, saying indignantly, "I'll help you clean up, but that was not my fault at all!" He chuckled and winked at her, ushering her into his room.
"I know that! I did it on purpose and I only said that so you wouldn't have to remain and be stuck in conversation instead! You're just lucky I chose to spoil my pants and not your dress," he grinned at her, and she looked at him in horror.
"You wouldn't!" She uttered in shock, and he cracked up laughing. Patting her on the head, he chortled, "you're right, I wouldn't. I won't be a moment, just going to change my outfit... father will be pleased, that's more promotion than he thought." He ducked into the wardrobe and shut the door, leaving Marinette by herself. She traipsed into the bathroom and pulled her lipstick out of her purse, and was halfway through reapplying it when she realised Adrien was leaning against the doorway watching her with a half smile on his face and... no shirt on. She blinked and his handsome figure did not elude her attention, but she turned to face him and successfully kept her eyes on his face only.
"What are you doing?" She asked incredulously.
"Just wanted to ask your opinion about which suit I should wear," he shrugged, and held up two fashionable suits. Marinette thought he'd look lovely in either, but the one with the emerald shirt would bring out his eyes, and so she preferred that one, but for some inexplicable reason he eventually chose the other and put it on. Soon they were heading back to the party, and he had her giggling like crazy with his ridiculous impressions of a drunk despite his complete sobriety. They spent two hours together, drifting from conversation to conversation and hitting the dance floor whenever either one heard a song they particularly loved come on. Surprisingly they loved a lot of the same songs, and altogether too soon it seemed Alya was dragging her off the dance floor to get a drink, insisting she hadn't had any water for three hours and if she didn't have some immediately she'd get dehydrated and die. As Marinette downed a glass of water - she really had been thirsty - Alya watched her in silent appraisal and Marinette wasn't sure why.
"Why are you looking at me like that?" She gasped as she poured another glass.
"Have you had any alcohol Marinette?"
"What? No! Is there even any here?"
"Not that I know of... but then how have you gone from not even being able to speak in proper words around him, to getting him to wear a suit that perfectly compliments your dress?"
Water sprayed from Marinette's mouth as she suddenly realised why he'd wanted to wear that suit so badly. Alya laughed at Marinette's dumbstruck expression and grabbed a napkin, quickly wiping up the water on the floor.
"Everyone is talking about what a pretty pair you make, and Chloe is absolutely fuming," Alya grinned, and Marinette couldn't help but giggle. She shrugged and flicked her hair, saying, "well it was only a matter of time before he fell for me as I have done countless times for him - metaphorically and physically," before grabbing Alya's hand and dragging her back to the dance floor where Adrien was waiting.
They hadn't been dancing for much longer when the music faded and everyone began filing outside to watch the fireworks which would erupt from the Eiffel Tower at midnight. Adrien grabbed Marinette's hand and squeezed, smiling down at her as he led her in the opposite direction of the crowd to a secluded balcony with a perfect view.
They stood in silence for a short while, watching their breath on the air and observing the gathering crowds in the night cold. Marinette began to shiver, and she broke the silence saying, "I'm just going to run and get my jacket, I'll be back before they go off."
She turned to go but Adrien grabbed her arm, smiling mischievously.
"What?" She said suspiciously.
"You know what would look better on you?" He smirked, and she shook her head, bemused.
"Me," he said huskily, and her eyebrows shot up in surprise. She wrenched her arm from his grip and he blinked, confused by the negative reaction...
"OH! NO no NO, I didn't mean - I just meant like this!" He exclaimed, opening his jacket and offering her his chest. He chuckled nervously. "How smooth of me, right? I just meant if you wanted you could use me for body warmth," he winked, and she hesitated for a moment before stepping into his embrace. She put her arms around him inside his jacket and pressed her ear against his chest, while he closed his jacket over her as best he could and leant his head on top of her head. She could hear his heartbeat, and it was the most soothing, peaceful sound she'd heard in a long time.
They stood there for a minute, and when the countdown began they separated slightly, looking into each other's eyes. Adrien had never even considered having a New Year's kiss, but with his beautiful friend here with him tonight, and with his growing feeling that soon she would be so much more than just a friend, it just seemed like the perfect thing to do. Marinette had, of course, dreamed about it, but never in a million years dreamed it would actually happen that Adrien would take a big enough liking to her to kiss her at such an iconic moment...
As the fireworks went off and the crowd erupted, Marinette and Adrien gently pressed their lips against each other's and remained locked in a perfect first kiss for what seemed like forever.
When they finally separated and Marinette leant her head against his chest again, the fireworks were reaching their finale, in which red, white, dark blue and green fireworks featured in honour of Ladybug and Chat Noir. Adrien suddenly had a fleeting moment of doubt in his decision to kiss Marinette when Ladybug was brought to mind, and he found himself frowning slightly when Marinette quietly said, "Adrien, there's something I'd like to tell you... I've decided this year I'm going to tell someone and I'd... I'd like it to be you." She looked up into his perfect face and he stroked her hair, still frowning slightly but because he was concentrating on her.
She took a deep breath and whispered, "Tikki, spots on."
In a flash she'd transformed, and he gaped at her in disbelief. Suddenly doubting her decision, she whispered fretfully, "please don't tell anyone at all... this has to remain a secret... oh dear... Adrien...?"
His expression of stunned bewilderment gave way to a stunning smile and he laughed, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her again. After a moment, he stepped back and gently said, "Plagg, claws out." She gasped as he transformed into the leather-clad hero, green eyes twinkling down at her as he whispered, "I won't tell if you won't M'lady!" She giggled and they detransformed, returning to their comfortable silent embrace, the only sounds being the quiet buzz of the far-off crowd and the beating of the heart Marinette could now say with absolute certainty she had a special place in.
The End 🐱🐞