Word Count: 760
Summary: Mr. Dominic performs a chivalrous rescue; Adelle is suitably grateful.
Author's Note: This is pretty much just ... fluff. Huzzah for shameless fangirlitude! And D/D Celebration Fortnight. Which, the two pretty much go hand in hand. ♥
Adelle can’t stand Clive Ambrose. What’s more, she’s quite certain his regard for her is about as high as hers for him. The difference between them is that he seems to derive some troublesome and very annoying delight from it.
It’s true that within the realm of the Rossum Corporation, it’s largely a man’s world, but she’s far from the only woman here. And yet the second the band begins to play, he is standing by her, requesting a dance. She casts a glance Mr. Dominic’s way: he’s in conversation with the security head of the D.C. House. No hope of rescue there, then. She finishes off her glass of champagne, puts on a smile, and allows the insufferable man to lead her out onto the dance floor.
He’s an adequate dancer, which she finds disappointing. Had he stepped all over her toes, at least she’d have derived some material for later complaint out of the experience. As it is, it’s nothing besides tiresome. She doesn’t much care for these functions, but all of the Dollhouse higher-ups are inevitably both very rich and very important, and, as such, like to be reminded of that with these tedious charades. It is a lovely party, exquisite ballroom and formal dress and all: there’s even an ice sculpture shaped like a swan. (“And what is that,” she’d dryly observed earlier in a murmur to Mr. Dominic, “if not the true mark of a prestigious social gathering?” He’d considered it awhile, very straightfaced, before muttering back, “I think it looks more like a duck,” and she’d had to bury her laugh in her hand as their colleagues came up to greet them.)
Still, she is not fond of being on display like this, of the smug and polished falseness of everyone around her. Perhaps it isn’t so very different from what she does at the House on a daily basis, but at least that (she reasons, a little absurdly) is hers. She is proud of the work she does, the small world she commands, and doesn’t much enjoy the reminder that there are others out there who do what she does. She can’t quite believe that her associates share her approach at their own Houses.
Ambrose keeps up a steady stream of chatter, beginning with “You’re looking lovely this evening” and, in no time at all, making his way to how “admirable it is that you’ve recovered so well from that nasty business a few months ago; rest assured, no one here at Rossum attributes the incident to you. It was quite out of your control.” She has no trouble offering quick, pleasant replies in return, and all the while secretly thinks it’s rather a shame that Alpha’s composite event hadn’t taken place in this ballroom.
They are perhaps halfway into a very nice rendition of Someone To Watch Over Me when Mr. Dominic appears beside them, turning the song title suddenly and blessedly relevant to Adelle’s current state of existence. “May I?”
“What, you don’t see enough of her at work?” Ambrose asks, chuckling. Mr. Dominic responds with a small, obviously forced smile. The awkwardness left in the wake of the failed witticism clearly heightens Ambrose’s motivation to get away quickly; Mr. Dominic’s intention, she suspects. “A pleasure as always, Adelle.”
“Indeed, Mr. Ambrose.” She breaks away from him and slips one of her hands into Mr. Dominic’s. She curves the other around his shoulder, leaning in a little closer as she does it to mutter, “Thank you.”
“You looked less than thrilled,” he replies, smirking, his voice low. He rests his free hand lightly on her waist. “Thought I’d cut in.”
She feels a smile tug at her mouth. “Oh dear, am I that transparent.”
“Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone else picked up on the signs.”
“Well, in that case, thank God for your expertise.”
“Just doing my job, ma’am.”
“Of course, Mr. Dominic.”
They aren’t quite cheek to cheek, but these old songs seem to demand romance and so she leans into him in a way she knows she’d refrain from otherwise. She considers the glittering world around them from over his shoulder. It seems infinitely more bearable at the present moment. She’s had just enough champagne that she doesn’t quite check the impulse to enjoy the familiar smell of him, the comfortable newness of being this close. The singer finishes Someone To Watch Over Me and launches, melancholy, into Stormy Weather.