"Besides, who the fuck wants to be called Saffron nowadays?"
"Hey! Hey, I-okay, this is- this is not cool," she stammers, not appreciating being jostled against her will. Saffron immediately and defensively crosses her arms over her chest and tries (and fails) to fade into the video extras in their black and white garb. She is out of her element now, her makeup is too light, and she feels too open. The audience is right there, almost right next to her, too close for comfort. Where is her stage?; Where is her character mask? She takes a deep breath and tells herself that she is taking everything too seriously because, hey, she's only going to be in a four-minute video. Saffron takes her place right next to the water cooler, clutching an empty cup, holding it up to her dark red lips, forgetting she had finished the water moments before.
"Nervous?" asks a voice from behind. She turns around to see Tall and Skinny Ryan sitting behind her, plucking at his guitar strings as he glances up to meet her eyes. Oh yes, he, too, noticed the significant transformation of Miss Moody.
For a fleeting moment, she is at a lost for words as she tries to maintain eye contact, but in a matter of seconds, Saffron finds her voice again and replies, "I don't get nervous."
This is a total lie and Ryan, somehow, knows it. With a smirk and his voice dripping with sarcasm, he replies, "Sure, you don't."
Saffron raises her eyebrows in amusement- my, my Tall and Skinny's got a feisty side, does he? She quickly sidesteps a gaggle of jealous-looking fellow dancers and takes the empty seat to his right, crossing her arms over her chest before leaning back. "It's this thing I do," she explains reluctantly, "to ward off any further bouts of anxiety before I perform. If I tell myself I don't get nervous, I just... I feel better"
Ryan nods in understanding, still plucking those guitar strings with his long fingers, keeping his gaze focused on the instrument, rather than the girl. "Is Saffron your stage name, or something like that?" he asks her inquiringly.
She snorts and shakes her head hastily, replying, "No way! I'm hardcore theatre, but I'm definitely not that hardcore." Saffron almost grins when she sees a smile cross his face, probably picturing hardcore rockers in a chorus line because that is usually what she imagines. "Besides, who the fuck wants to be called Saffron nowadays?"
"Who the fuck wants to be called George nowadays?" he retorts, looking up finally, gingerly setting the guitar back on his stand.
"TouchÃ©! But, wait, I thought you were Ryan," Saffron says, confused.
"George is my first name and Ryan's my middle name," he explains.
"Well, I wouldn't want to be called Blanche either," she decides as she absentmindedly begins twirling a curl around her finger, rolling her eyes at the thought of being called 'Blanche.' "It's too damn Southern Belle for me." Saffron is momentarily caught by surprise at how comfortable she is with this perfect stranger, this Tall and Skinny rock star who is probably several pants sizes smaller than she and actually seems just a little bit interested in her as well.
Ryan is astonished as well, for normally it takes him much longer to warm up to a person, regardless of how pretty the face. Spencer had confirmed Ryan's apparent inclination for the wide-eyed blondes, but he honestly cannot take his eyes off this sardonic brunette beside him. "By the way, I'm really sorry of Brendon's tried to hit on you," he says suddenly, again, filling the transitory silence between them.
"He did, in a way," she replies with another snort, shaking her head, "though, don't sorry about me, I'm a big girl."
In enters the front man, clad in a rather dashing vintage gray suit with plaid teal highlights to match her dress. "Indeed you are," says Brendon, breaking the rather nice moment between the pair, causing Saffron to head back into that shell of hers. "And, no, I was definitely not hitting on you," he jokes, taking her hand and leading her to the center of the elaborate swing club set, barely catching a subtle glare from Ryan.
"You so were," Saffron almost says, though she remains silent, simply following him onto the dance floor before the extras crowd around them. "Don't mess up," she says instead, giving a small smirk.
"I won't, I'm just worried about you," Brendon retorts with a smirk to match, patting her on the head in false hauteur.
Saffron rolls her eyes and lifts a hand to flick at his fedora, quipping with another grin, "Just remember that I'm the qualified, professional girl that makes you look good, so be nice to me."
"You clean up well, kid," Brendon states, winking at her when she puts on a sour expression at being called 'kid.'
"You look better without dead person makeup and that weird jaw thing," she offers grudgingly after a spin, her skirt flaring around her knees, as he takes her hands to initiate another impromptu dance practice.
"Ah! So, you do know who Panic! at the Disco is!" he says triumphantly, dipping Saffron.
"I never said I didn't," she insists as they both spin around simultaneously, "and, besides, my little cousin sends me stuff from MTV.com all the time."
"And, I'm sure you're quite in love with my lovely voice, too." Brendon's grin broadens as he catches a tinge of pink appearing on her already rouged cheeks.
"Sorry to bust your bubble, dear," Saffron replies, obviously intending on busting his bubble, "but, I prefer baritones."
Note: Thanks so much to the reviewers! It really makes my
day. And, no, don't expect your typical Brendon/Girl/Ryan love triangle! With that said, please let me know what you think! More reviews make me write faster. ;)