They say that love makes you do crazy things — things like skipping out on the beginning of an extremely important event that's essential to your job. Which is why Jefferson York, instead of heading to the office to touch base with the reporters or to the entrance hall to be present for the introduction of the Selected girls, was headed to the sewing room.Look, it's not like — he has a reason to be there, okay? A button just so happened to fall off his suit jacket that morning, completely on accident, and it's only natural that he would get it repaired before he shows his face to the public. It would be sacrilege to show up and humiliate the royal family with the current state of his jacket. After all, the threads looked awful — almost like they'd been cut, but, you know, they weren't, because this was an accident.He rapped his knuckles against the doorframe, pausing a moment before heading in anyway. (Somehow, he doubted that the palace's finest embroiderer would mind.) "I, ah." He retrieved the missing button from his pocket, holding it up for Ashleigh to see. "I seem to have lost a button this morning. I was hoping that you might be able to help me?" He flashed her a smile that he hoped was a winning one, but whenever he was around Ash, well. There was also a high chance it was a stupid one.
Ashleigh Gray, more commonly known as Ash, very uncommonly known as Ash Gray (how punny) by the few who wanted to witness a glare that would send devils scampering back to hell, was running out of thread. Literally. Running. out. of. thread. In the sewing room. As in, she had thirty-eight dresses to bedazzle in less than foty-eight hours and now she was on her thirty fourth but the copious about of pastel coloured thread that had existed just twenty four before had all been put to use and now she was running. out. of thread. So although she distantly heard the rap on the door, and also saw the familiar handsome face only a few feet away from hers, and also vaguely recognized that there was a button in said person's hand, and a woeful lack of button on his jacket, the only thing she could manage was--"Thread. I need thread" Because Ash had finally done it. She had depleted the sewing room of thread, goddammit, and she wasn't sure, after sitting in the same chair for over thirty six hours, her legs (or her brain) had the power to try and find more goddamn thread, because she-- had she mentioned this before? was, as of now, officially out of thread.
((LOL it's okay xD also rip, i didn't catch that pun orz))Isn't this the sewing room? was the first thought to cross Jefferson's mind. After all, if any place in the palace were to have it... A quick survey of the room showed tends -- hundreds? -- of empry spools, and he couldn't help but wonder how could they not have foreseen this happening. Maybe he'd have to have a word with someone -- there were thirty-five girls, plus Her Majesty as well as the two princesses, all in need of new gowns almost on the daily, and they hadn't thought to stock more thread? Now this, he thought, was incompetence. Entirely unproductive. Not like cutting a button off of a jacket for no truly good reason... psh.Jefferson's brows knit together. "If you'd like me to find someone to get more thread..." He let his voice trail. Clearly, this had not been the best idea. But it was too late, he thought. No turning back on this one, unless he wanted to go out with only two buttons instead of three. Maybe he could make a quick change? He did always keep a spare suit in the office, but... Jefferson winced at the thought of entering the reporters' office with the she-devil herself there. Not ideal.And besides, he'd come here to see Ash. In hindsight, he probably should've come bearing a peace offering such as coffee rather than a missing button, but, well. As smart as the man could be, he wasn't the best when it came to these things. Like secret meetings. Or relationships. Or love. It had a tendency to make him... not think, evidently.
Ash was a little preoccupied, yes-- but she wasn't so preoccupied as to realize that having the PR Director traipse around with a sabotaged jacket on the most highly publicized day in Illea was a bad idea™. As he unconsciously backed closer towards the door, in search of that goddamn thread (like he even knew where it was... what was he planning to do, summon it using his official director voice?), she started towards him so her legs did work, pulling him closer. "Jefferson, I am that "someone" who gets more thread," she said, rolling her eyes but unable to mask her amusement. "And you're not going out there unless you want a swarm of hungry reporters asking you why you cut your own button off of your jacket." Did he honestly think she wouldn't know? Jefferson York was a lot of things-- subtle, he was not. Lucky for him, Ash really didn't mind, in fact, it was actually kind of endearing. As she instinctively reached into her apron to find the small mending kit she always carried (so she wasn't completely out, although she wasn't sure how blue, black, and gray thread would help stitch up the floral coloured dresses), she also instinctively found herself pulling Jefferson closer, gently weaving out the loose strands of navy blue with her fingers, needle between her teeth. As she finally pulled the last few strands of thread from the poorly hijacked jacket and reached to take the button, she couldn't help but look up, cocking a teasing eyebrow. "Don't you have a job to do?"
((asherson for best hets 2k16))In all truth, Ashleigh hardly had to pull him closer; he would have eventually gravitated there on his own. She had that effect on him -- clearly; after all, he did cut a button off just for an excuse to see her. Instead of just making an excuse and visiting her anyway... yeah, not his best idea, but, well. It was done.Jefferson grinned sheepishly down at her, raising his hands (only slightly -- she'd probably intentionally stab him with the needle if he moved too much while she was working) in mock surrender. "You caught me," he said. "And I do -- but it's only just started; the reporters aren't even here yet. And I do keep a change in the office in case of emergency," he said, only a little defensive, "but Horvath's reporters are late this morning, and, well. I didn't want to stick around for that fallout." Sure, Jefferson had a (grudging) respect for the head reporter of the Selection. No one could say that she wasn't great at doing her job. But she also made Jefferson want to rip every hair off of his scalp, and he certainly wasn't about to be there when she was livid. It wasn't personal. Well, of course it had to do with her terrible personality, but, well. Jefferson didn't care much for reporters.After all, that's why they were in this situation, wasn't it? Being a York meant being scrutinized by the public eye. It was something Jefferson had learned to deal with his entire life; he was good at handling public relations for a reason, and that was personal experience. But it was hardly a burden that he wanted to subject Ash to; a relationship between a Two and a Six was already rare enough, and... no. He couldn't do that.
"Mm." Ash had heard far too often what happened when things did not go according to Reporter Horvath's plan-- she'd had to clean up after it several times, and it had never been pretty. Thread through the eye, thread through the button, thread through the jacket. In less than a minute, it was all stitched up-- if not for the sad scraps of navy blue thread on the apron, the dress, the carpet, you would never know that the button had never not been tightly sewn on, just like the rest of them."You should get going," she said. And so should I, she thought, although for some reason, she did not move, and neither did he. Her hands were still for the first time in days but they did not like staying static so they straightened his jacket, his collar, his cuff link-- ran across the fabric, searching for imaginary threads. You should get going, she thought again, but the quiet was soothing, his mere presence relaxing. The smell of cologne, all oak and honey, with hints of citrus. The all too familiar feel of cotton and viscose along her fingers. The eyes looking at her as if she were the moon-- a reflection of light, of a life he had not known he'd wanted until that very moment, now, now, now. And then-- "Thread. I need thread." It was gone. The thread was gone.
Perception of time, Jefferson had learned once, is highly subjective. A moment frozen in time, yet soundtracked by the ticking of a clock. It was the sort of phenomenon that Jefferson had become familiarized with during his time since meeting Ashleigh. Her hands stilled on the fabric of his suit jacket, and his raised unconsciously to meet them; and for a moment, it could be just the two of them as the rest faded to gray."I should," he agreed, displaying a tremendous lack of effort to go anywhere that wasn't here, that wasn't now.He needed to — he knew he did, and maybe they didn't need PR for the Selection quite yet, but it was only a matter of time before Horvath sent her fetus reporters mucking around. He needed to. (He didn't want to.)But then there was the thread. Of course it was the thread. "Right," he said, giving a tight-lipped smile in an attempt to hide his regret over not being able to stay longer. "We should both... get back to work."
"Horvath's probably looking for you, anyway," Ash said, the corners of her words still gentle, as if they had not yet gotten the memo that she, like everyone else in the palace, was working against the clock, backed up against thirty eight dresses and a distinct lack of thread, but wanting... No. There was no time for that. The only thing she wanted right now was thread. And lots of it. She put her needle back into place and the stuck the sewing kit neatly in her apron. Delicately moving the sequinned pink fabric to the side, she stood up and briskly walked to the door, before stopping. For those who didn't know Ash, it would almost seem as if she were hestitating, but she was merely listening, for the notorious click-clack of heels, heels which almost always lead a small mob of flashing lenses and even flashier personalities. "Coast's clear." She opened the door, then whirled around, giving a wry smile. "After you, my liege."
I love you.This always happened; the worlds always flickered to the front of his mind when he was around her, and, well. It was true. He loved her, more than was probably reasonable. But he wasn't about to say it — not when she hadn't, not when he wasn't certain she loved him back; he would just have to show it, then, as he had been trying to do for a while. Actions could speak louder than words, and he hoped she was listening.Coast's clear — because with them, they always had to check, always had to be careful. "Right," he said, giving her hand a final squeeze. "I'll see you later."Because it was best to just give her a small smile and leave, leave before he wished too badly to stay.
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