Shades of Purple on the Pavement

Cedar Creek 
#1
Tuesday, October 30th
@Alexandra Davidson


 For a man who often (sometimes purposefully) forgot his own birthday - which had been last week, thanks - he was sure good as selectively remembering other people's birthdays. People like Alex. The irony there was that their birthdays being so close was probably one of the biggest reasons he remembered it, and not some cheesy reason like he liked her enough to not forget it. Yeah. That.

 He made sure she was going to be home by the time he got there. Planning special things was not really Dante's forte, at all, but he trudged up to his door with good intentions. Time had done a decent job of healing him from stressful nightmares about killing the woman, so it was nice to feel like things were mostly back to normal except now with clearer boundaries. He would come into their home with beer and a small cake, both to her taste, and a plastic bag that bulged with Taco Bell delicacies.

 "Happy birthday to you," he crooned as he stepped inside, his voice deep and gravelly but absolutely devoid of musical talent. "Happy birthday to you." A booted foot knocked the creaky door closed behind him. "Happy birthday dear Aleeex." Her birthday loot was lowered onto the dingy, scratched up coffee table. "Happy birthday to youuuuu."
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#2
 As a personal rule, she treated her birthday like a full blown national holiday. Just enough ego, just the right combination of hubris and laziness to make the perfect cocktail - to take it off every year. Normally she all but paid a plane to fly a banner about it, told everyone and anyone who she chatted with - like a door to door salesmen who's quota was a matter of life or death. This year wasn't any different, except, perhaps ironically, when she was home.

 Maybe it was the fight that had rattled their foundations, or perhaps it was age playing to some sense of modesty - but the closer it got, the less she said. Instead she stayed home and minded her own business. Went out for her usual lunch of free birthday deals and otherwise kept a low profile. Hindsight, maybe it was because she cared what he thought. Maybe it was cautionary, saying nothing so that if he did nothing about it - well, it made sense. Maybe that meant she cared more than she wanted - one thing was definite, it was a lot less work not thinking about this at all.

 She still up on the couch when she heard him at the door, looked at the television properly and tried to wake up the rest of the way before he came in. Obviously busy, definitely not waiting for him. There were a lot of things that constituted a surprise, Dante Orion crooning happy birthday over a store bought cake and a handful of beefy five layers was towards the top.

 She was quiet as she stared at him, face hot. A little unsure what to do with the singular attention. "Hey, ..." She softened, pulled herself up and onto her feet and turned to the side to kiss his cheek. "Thanks." Trying with all her might to keep from making it into a huge deal.
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#3
 Look at her, all pink-cheeked and soft as he sang to her. It was leagues more common to see Alex in some form of prickly and sarcastic, venom at the ready - which, of course, he enjoyed. He wouldn't keep her around if he didn't. But this was nice, too, to get a peak into the softer folds of her as a person, to receive kisses on the cheek. To give her a little hug around the waist.

 "Hi," he grunted, bending over the goods to pull them out of their plastic bags. The paper-wrapped burritos were somewhat unceremoniously dumped onto the table, and then he moved on to the cake, delicately picking it out of it transparent casing and sticking a candle in the center of it. It was a very pretty candle, tall and wrapped in a shimmery gold foil. It as also a trick candle. He couldn't be too sweet to her.

 Next, a couple of beers were pulled out, but he waited to pop them open just yet. Instead, he pulled his lighter out of his pocket, and lit her candle. "Okay. Make a wish." He watched with as straight a face as he could manage, eager to see the flame come back to life after she blew it out.
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#4
 Funny enough, she thought about ravens. Not like, vampire ones - but real honest to god birds. How they gave people they liked little gifts, shiny bits of garbage and colorful shards of plastic. Laughing to herself, she rubbed at her face as her brain made the jump, a loose but sturdy enough connection. She supposed that this was in a way like that, not anything outstanding in grandeur but ... a lot, considering the source. More than she had any hope to expect, particularly considering all the work she had put into saying nothing at all to him about any of this.

 Watching him skeptically, she said nothing catty even if it bubbled right below the surface. Waited for the whole room to smell like sulfur or to find out it was some sort of cleverly disguised screaming horror of a firework unfit for indoors. Nothing happened, she rubbed her palms together and narrowed her eyes as she stared down at the cake. Yeah, she made a big deal about these things - told anyone who would listen. But she couldn't remember the last time anyone bought a cake for it, the last sighting of a candle or the opportunity to make a birthday wish.

 Okay, so ...She wasn't sure who you talked to when you made a birthday wish - wasn't sure if it was a religious thing or just a thing, or ... I guess just - a good year. Everyone who matters safe. Very much aware of how long she stood still and staring at the tiny flame eating away at the wax. She pulled her hair over one shoulder, held it back and leaned down to blow with a huff. The candle went out, a beat before it sparked and crackled to life. Okay. She repeated it again, the same results.

 "You're a fuckin' asshole." She laughed as the dots connected, reached out to swat him halfheartedly in the chest. "Jokes on you, butt wipe - unlimited wishes. Boom."
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#5
 Idly, he wondered what Alex would wish for. A million dollars? Life-long happiness? That seemed too easy. Maybe she didn’t make a wish at all, and just stood there forever to antagonize him. It was worth it to finally see her short battle with the candle, and by the time she gave up he was grinning like a big idiot. The wolf chuckled, taking her slap to the chest without any retaliation. For now.

 "Did you wish for birthday spankings?" he asked her suggestively, eyebrows waggling as he reached down and extinguished the stupid candle between forefinger and thumb. He reached for a burrito next and plopped onto the couch as he unwrapped it. "Got any plans for your special day?"
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#6
 "Yep, I said: powers that be, I just want a solid excuse to have the big dumb I live with wail on my ass." She settled down beside him unceremoniously, pulled a burrito into her lap and leaned over to knock her shoulder into his. "Excuse me, I don't remember saying you could have any part of my birthday spread." She made no move to pull it from him either way, wrapping the paper and taking a bite with a universal and immediate thumbs up.

 "Nothing wild, thought I would hang out with you if you could find it in your heart to spend time with me." She dropped the matter of her wish, just superstitious enough to know it wouldn't do any good to talk about it.
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#7
 Dante scoffed, without malice, at her retort. Of course she did. He let it lie, intent on eating a burrito instead of exhausting all his methods of torture, elbowing her arm when she shouldered him. "The cake's all yours, okay. I bought exactly one burrito for my big dumb self." It wsn't exactly a lie - he had actually just ordered a shit ton of burritos without any specific thought about who would eat how many. Just that Alex like Taco Bell so that's what was for dinner.

 She hadn't made any plans at all, besides to hang out with him? That was, honestly, pretty flattering. He guessed the other coyotes were out of the question, but also, like... didn't she have any friends? Dante, of course, knew better than to ask that question at this point of knowing the woman. It wasn't exactly like he was Mr. Popular, but if she did have any friends, he definitely didn't think he knew them. If he did, maybe he would have invited them over for Taco Bell and trick candles too. They didn't get out much, did they? Not like they were the friendliest people out there at any rate.

 "I guess so," he responded around a mouthful of burrito, side-eyeing her as he said it. On a more serious note, he spoke again: "Is there somethin' in particular you would like to do?"
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#8
 "You're not that dumb." It felt a bit too rough, repeated back out loud, a bit too unkind for someone who'd just done more than necessary to make her day a notable one. Quiet for some time, she moved to hook one of her legs over his and reached for a second burrito without even a second of modest hesitation. Her shoulders rose and fell just as quickly, a hum of a sound as she glanced over to him.

 The fact of the matter was that people were hard, harder what with the sloppy state of Larkspur. So - no, she didn't have anything she wanted to do exactly. "You've done enough." Feeling like a grade a loser reveling in handouts. "It's not that big of a deal, y'know?"
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#9
 Look at her! Being so nice! Dante smiled at her, a small and genuine sort of expression that might be hard to see under his beard, but translated in his eyes. He leaned back against the couch, let her sling a leg over his, lowering his free hand to her thigh in a comfortable position. She answered his question, but... also didn't answer his question. He frowned at her, feeling suddenly and strangely inadequate. He should have done something bigger. He should have sent her out to do some girly shit like get her nails painted while he cleaned the apartment and decked it out in streamers or something.

 He crumpled up the empty burrito wrapped in his other hand and let it rest on his lap. He understood it not being a big deal - he was not particularly big on his own birthday. His parents had never made it any grand thing when he was a kid, and for much of his life it had remained that way. And he couldn't recall Alex really... being excited about her own birthday up until now. So maybe it really wasn't that big of a deal. Even with supernatural senses, he was having trouble parsing her feelings.

 Instead of pushing it, he reached into his pocket and retrieved a party popper. Using one hand to hold it, he tugged on the little string with the other hand, and with a sharp pop! he showered her in dainty, colorful streamers and confetti.
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#10
 At least he was kind enough to let it go, smart enough not to pester when she had said all she could think to about her birthday and it's value where excess was concerned. Maybe she could pick out a shitty movie, maybe they'd do her choice of toppings on pizza tonight - maybe wanting that sort of shit with him meant that she was old or soft or both at once.

 She had barely just set her hand over his on her leg, eyes forward to keep from making it into a big deal. Almost immediately he let go, fished into his pocket and made her tilt her head to watch him from her peripheral with a suspicious sort of curiosity. The sharp pop made her jump a little in her seat, eyes darkening to a rich shade of amber before she relaxed just as quickly as a sea of crinkled and colorful streamers and bits of confetti tangled in her hair and draped across her lap and arms. Some fell between the cushions, lost indefinitely.

 "Holy shit - what ..." She laughed, all the same, reached out to hook her arm around him and tug him downwards to kiss the top of his head. "Dick." But it fell flat, even if she'd been caught off guard. "How many more of those little shits are you hiding?"
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#11
 He sort of expected her eyes to get all flashy with that particular brand of surprise, but overall she seemed to take it well, and Dante laughed for it. He yielded to her tugging, bit her collar lightly as she kissed the top of his head. He was pretty sure his beard had immediately picked up some confetti.

 "Can’t tell you. That’d spoil the surprise." He grinned to himself, hands reaching for her sides so that his fingers could dig into the tender spots on her ribs and tickle her.
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#12
 If she surprise party-popped him, she was pretty sure it would end in an ordeal. Still very much familiar with a certain unexpected bar encounter and all the chaos that had sprung from it. All the same, she didn't say anything about it - a low hum at the nip of his teeth against her skin as she slowly let him go. It was a mistake, of course, choking on her own breath as he suddenly resorted to the lowliest form of fighting.

 She nearly kicked over the coffee table, turning to reach over him and trying to worm her hand between his side and his arm to return the favor. "Fuck tha-" Pushing his hands away and trying to pat down his pockets.
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#13
 The great thing about her being ticklish was that it was highly entertaining. The bad thing was that is was destructive, and she nearly upset the coffee table in her squirming. Which would have sucked - he'd rather drink the beers and shove the cake in her face instead of losing it all to the carpet. So it was nice that the goods were all spared this fate. She tried to tickle him back, and he boomed with laughter - but because he was not ticklish, and she should know better by now.

 "Nooo!" He cried in mock horror as she began to search for his pockets. If she was going for another confetti banger, well, he did have like five more but he was feeling stingy about them. If she got to his pockets she would surely find them, so he did his best to deter her. Currently, his best was just sort of. Throwing himself on top of he and trying to smother her into the couch as he reached for her hands. "Don't make me spank you before your time, woman," he grunted at her, but not without humor.
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#14
 Hard fact: he could act unfazed and torment her all he wanted, it still felt impossible to imagine that he was honest to god not even remotely ticklish. Unsure to boot, she uncurled her fingers when he resorted to mocking her and slapped at his arm, jabbed her fingers into his side. Laughing as she fell back, legs still off the couch and kept down for the purpose of their festive dessert and quick but good choice in a meal.

 He managed to grab one arm, trying to keep the other stretched above her head and twist to keep him from tickling her. "Get f-" She wheezed, reached down at once and tried to pull at his hair - a bit catty and low in terms of standards, but that seemed secondary then and there. "No one's scared of you." Which, perhaps, was a bit of a lie but fit all the same in the confines of the room.
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#15
 The scrambling struggle was somewhat chaotic but also very entertaining, and Dante felt victorious in grabbing one hand. The other evaded him for now, as he tried to find some balance in reaching for it without crushing her other wrist as he sought to keep himself planted. He wore a shit-eating grin as he ducked his face away from her, trying his best to at least keep her from getting any hits on his face, growling loudly at her as she yanked on his hair.

 "I'll make you scared of me," he threatened her, completely without malice, pushing his head up into her hand until he was he could plant his teeth to her ear and bite it with a menacing chuckle. He abandoned the chase for her other hand and instead put his fingers to the ribs under her raised arm to tickle her there, feet moving in an attempt to pull hers up onto the couch and lock her legs in place.
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#16
 Anyone else, or almost anyone else, maybe that would have made her grit her teeth and bristle. This time, these circumstances, she laughed and tried to raise her shoulders to block the bite of his teeth. "Fuck off." But it was just as hallow, just as pointless as she tangled her legs with his and relaxed by a margin. A different sort of gamble, well aware that there was no promise that he wouldn't go in for the second round of torture.

 Twisting instead to kiss him on the cheek again instead, a bit of a mess as she landed closer to the side of his nose. A little bit of something soft before she tried to suck a bruise against his cheek instead, hooked her arm around the back of his neck to try to hold him still and block his escape.
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#17
 She was successful in blocking his teeth from her ear, and they closed on air as his chin dig into her shoulder. He grunted a laugh at her, squinting as their faces knocked together and she kissed him again. That was cute, until it wasn’t - precisely when she tried to suck the skin off his face. "Ow, you little shit," he hissed, straining against her arm until he could twist his face away from her, knocking her jaw with the top of her head. It was less that it hurt and more that he was kind of vain, okay. Still, too proud to give up, he made to jerk his face the other way so that he could see the coffee table. He released her hand so that he could make a grab for the cake - instead of grabbing it, he tore a mere chunk of it free, but that was good enough he supposed. Then, bowing against her strength, he would try to leave enough room between them that he could smush a wad of cake into her face without getting it on his own.
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#18
 "Don't ow me fucker, it's just a little hic-" The word gave way to what readily could be described as a squeal, a sharp sound of dismay as she felt his weight shift. "No." A firm voice as she reached out and braced her hand against his forearm just as he turned to smear frosting and cake into her face. Close quarters, little help it did as she ended up with a side of her face smeared in icing and crumbles of cake.

 She lifted a knee, tried to roll him off of her and into the tiny space between the couch and the coffee table. At once trying to smear the mess into his face. Squinting to avoid getting the mess in her eyes as she swiped at her cheek and shoved her palm into his face. "Don't start - truce." Less offense and more a warning of sorts, able to see this going south quickly.
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#19
 Color Dante absolutely tickled pink. He laughed at her sugar-smeared defeat, though the sound was short lived as she rocked him off the couch. He landed in that narrow space with a heavy thud, still amused even as she exacted revenge in the form of wiping the mess on his face in turn. That would be fun to get out of his beard, he figured, but that was a problem for future Dante. For now he just worried about trying to bite her hand as she shoved it in his face.

 "You started it," he scoffed, making to butt up to her face and lick icing off her cheek.
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#20
 "Fuck that!" The words hitched more than she wanted them to, mock offense as she turned onto her side to linger towards the edge of the couch and stared down at him. "You started it, you had the party p-"She jerked her head back enough to knock her chin a bit more forcefully against his cheek than she would have liked. Closing her eyes tight and scrunching up her face at the feel of his tongue against her skin.

 Turning further into him instead of away, she fell without much in the way of grace - tried to grab him by his shoulders and hold him against the floor. "You're too goddamn hairy to lick, that's cheating."
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#21
 Of course they wouldn't be able to agree on which cake-faced dog started it either. But it was her. For the record. The party popper was a part of the festivities. Licking her was worth it, either way. She rolled and dropped on top of him and he let out a grunt as her weight sort of punched the air out of him. He grinned up at her, grabbing her hips and digging his thumbs into the soft flesh just inside her hip bones. "I've got something you can lick," he suggested with a lewd chuckle.
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#22
 "Huhuhuh ..." It was a mocking bastard of a representation of his laughter, rolling her eyes almost immediately. "Lick it yourself, it's my birthday." Her head tilted, she hid against the side of his neck and made no effort to get up and get herself together. "On the other hand, I got something you can kiss." Doubtful that he would fall into that rather obvious trap. Reaching up blindly and feeling about to press her palm into the cake properly before she moved to drag her fingers down his face.
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#23
 He laughed at her retort. If he could reach it, he probably would, but that was probably just fuel for her fire, so he kept it to himself. There was a particular contentment to just laying on the floor with her all cuddled up on top of him, cake on their faces and cheesy beef perfuming the air. And then she smeared cake all over his face again.

 "I’ll kiss it after I kick it," he grumbled. He moved his head in a weak attempt to give some of the cake back to her, maybe he hair or something, while his hand fished back to his pocket again to find another popper. Grinning privately, he would move quickly to put the string in his teeth and deploy the explosive confetti.
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#24
 "You're not kic-" She saw it and some part of her brain just had enough time to shout about another godforsaken party popper before he pulled the grenade like a smooth soldier in a World War 2 movie. Instinctually she shut her eyes tight, laughed after the bang as thin flimsy streamers of different colors stuck to the icing on both of them.

 Immediately she hands dropped, worming between them to grab his hips instead of his shoulders after all. "Really now, how many of these fucking things did you get? You just wait - every holiday, every event ..." Not one to talk in any real depth about the future but finding it easy to threaten on it then and there.

"You're in deep, douche canoe." Faulty when she craned her neck to lick the very tip of his nose after all.
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#25
 There was room for regret as the confetti quickly came to settle in the icing on his face, tangling in his beard and his hairline. It had been worth it at any rate. He snickered at her hands clawing between them, knowing there was an opportunity here for more innuendos, but listening instead to her promises for future endeavors.

 He moved to lock his arms around her neck and flip them over, which was not exactly a seamless movement in the narrow gab between couch and coffee table - by the time he was on top of her, he had smacked his icing-and-confetti-covered head on the table. It called for a moment of pause as he groaned and held his temple with one hand and lowered his face onto her shirt. If it had been clean before, it was not now. Oops!
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#26
 Color her a little paranoid, but even if they were right as rain despite past missteps, she still tensed when he hooked his arms around her neck. A sudden and sharp gasp more instinctual than anything at the sound of him knocking his head into the table with gusto. Immediately she reached up, tried to press her palm to the back of his head as if to assess.

 It could have been a nice moment, a tell for what was more or less just a giant fucking elephant in the middle of the room - covered in a tablecloth as if to make the fucking thing inconspicuous. Instead, that version was quashed as he ducked his head and used her as the Were equivalent of a roll of fucking Bounty. She pulled on his hair instead, laughed and wormed one leg out from his to squeeze against his side. "Jackass, I was going to be sweet to you ..." New position, more pocket access - she darted the hand that had tangled in his hair down to check for party poppers in his back pockets. Genuinely and truly, not a euphemism for literally anything.
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#27
 Dropping his head on her chest had been more of a move for reprieve from moving his hurt head - or at least that sounded like the best excuse, but he was still grinning against her shirt as her gentle hold on his head turned into more hair pulling. "Aw, c'mon, you can still be sweet to me," he assured her as he rolled his weight to pin her leg against the couch, letting her search him for another popper. They were not in the back pockets, and he chuckled with a private sort of glee as he realized she would practically have to stick her hands down the front of his pants to get to them. Well, searching his front pockets seemed close enough to that. He reached a hand down to tug her other leg out from under him so that he was more nestled in between them, and then just became dead weight again. While it meant she would have a harder time getting to the poppers, it also meant they were digging into his groin, but a small moment of victory was worth the suffering.
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#28
 "I'd rather fucking not." She was gruff for the sake of the sacred routine they had, kept it up because that was what they did even as she let him wiggle himself between her legs without much fuss. Still, she huffed when he went limp and groaned at the impulse to dig her forearm against his throat and shove him off entirely.

 Instead, she slid her hands from his back pockets, patted down his hips and tried to worm one hand between them with little luck to show for it. "If I find one of those things, ..." She leaned in, close to the shell of his ear as she turned to pinch at his hip. "I'm going to set it off in your fucking pocket, that'll teach you."
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#29
 He liked how she liked to pretend she didn't like him. Secretly, he was sure, she just found great joy in his big body trying to squish her into confined spaces. Like the floor between the couch and table. "Oh, is that right?" he growled against her ear, snickering at the challenge. "That might turn me on. Then your burritos are going to get cold." A pause, a widening of his grin as he suggested, "We haven't done it on the coffee table yet." Wasn't she the one who had brought up sex in unconventional places? He had done well to keep that in mind. Even though the coffee table... might not be able to take it.
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#30
 It wasn't a suggestion, but in a roundabout way it sure the shit was a suggestion. She glanced sideways, looked at the underside of the coffee table and reached up to hit her knuckles against the top. "Is this fuckin' particle board?" The implication, the doubt behind it, as far as she was concerned it said plenty about how she imagined that would go.

"You ass would go right through, karate kid style." Leaning in and pressing her lips briefly just below his ear.
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#31
 It might be particle board. It had been a cheap purchase, like most of the furniture in his home. He turned his head slightly to consider it as she rapped it with her fist. He laughed at her, a low and throaty sound that came almost as a growl, distracted by soft lips at his neck. "You callin' me fat?" he grumbled, shifting his weight to slide a hand underneath the small of her back. "I'd hate to have to cover you in more cake."
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#32
 "I'm callin' you big, and don't make this a dick joke - dick." Anticipating it as she dropped her arm to wrap both loosely and comfortably around him. "It's my birthday, any mess you make you're cleaning up." Pinching at the small of his back and closing her eyes as she laid back comfortably for a second. A far cry from the year prior, a whole lot less food but a whole lot better in pretty much every single way.

 She reached up blind then, swiped a bit of icing from the top of the table and smeared it on his cheek before she leaned in for a kiss reminiscent of someone's aging nonna, kissing it off. "Burritos getting cold, dillweed."
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#33
 Her words warranted another quiet laugh, mostly amused that she would cut him off from a prime dick joke before he could even think about making it. It was also funny that a woman who had hit him with a toaster over not cleaning a bathtub would want him to clean a birthday mess. Which he guessed was not an outlandish claim but the only cleaning he was interested in would be cleaning cake off of her.

 But then she was sucking cake off his face in a way that made him grimace, snorting in a cross between repulsion and amusement. Yeah, yeah. Cold burritos. He grunted, shifted his weight to rise off of her, kneeling to help hoist her to her feet and then unceremoniously shoving her back down on the couch. He considered sitting on her to boot, but went to wash the cake off his face and beard instead.
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#34
 Like those old fucking Sourpatch Kid commercials, he was helping and then he was doing the complete and total opposite. She huffed when he knocked her off balance and back down onto her ass - not hard to do as she'd still been pulling herself together at the time. "Dick." It was simple and still fresh in her rotation of insults, still as he turned away and moved to tidy himself up.

 She glanced down at the smear of colorful icing across her shirt and tugged it over her head, combed her fingers through her hair and rocked forward before she got back to her feet and followed after him. Tossing the shirt in a crumpled ball down the hall and towards their room. At once swiping her hand under the faucet and moving to rub it in his face. "Hold still, you fucking missed a spot."
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#35
 Mid-fall meant the water didn't get warm very quickly in this old apartment. Dante didn't particularly feel like waiting for it, though; he fished out a little hand rag from one of the drawers and began to wet it in the cold stream. One hand held his hair back while the other tackled the hardening sugar substance on his face.

 He heard her approach, but was surprised by the sight of her, shirtless and in his space faster than he'd expected. He seized up, grunted at the hand in his face and snatched her wrist, flinging water in the process. The rag dropped to the edge of the sink, the sound of running water falling to the background as he turned on her, using his body to crowd her against the nearest wall. A sly sort of smirk tilted the corners of his mouth, eyebrows up as his fingers traced feather-light trails along the curve of her bare waist. "We can microwave your burritos. Just saying."
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#36
 It was a sudden and fluid set of movements, grimacing as the cool of the drywall pressed against the small of her back - complacent in regards to the almost tickle of his fingers. Some cheap and practical part of her wanted to whine about the sound of the water running, she did not. "It's true, I haven't thrown the microwave yet." Although she imagined to merit that was ... what - a whole month of not tidying up around the apartment? Sure, at least that.

 But instead of outright greenlighting the plan, she hooked one arm around his neck, right at the crook of her elbow. The still damp hand sneaking under his shirt, pressing against his side, smug and smirking to herself even as she pressed her lips against his.
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