Chapter Five “A Kiss On The Hand”
Riza bit her lower lip in indecision as she looked at herself in the mirror. She now had two weeks until the ball and still no dress. Right now, she was wearing a pink frilly number and she hated it. But the shopkeeper had demanded she try it on. She stepped back into the dressing room, and took it of, giving it a disgusted look as she handed it back to the shopkeeper.
“Perhaps the blue one then?” the shopkeeper said.
Riza wanted to let out a snort but resisted. She took the satin blue dress off its hanger, holding it up before her. It went straight down to her feet, with a slight train on it. It had a plunging neckline that stopped just before reaching her abdomen. It had no back; it just tied at the neck. It had silver designs all over it, and it puffed out slightly like a bell. It was perfect. She slipped into it, tying it at the neck, and smoothing it out as she stopped into the shop again, looking in the three-way mirror.
“Oh!” she exclaimed softly, noticing how well it clashed with her creamy skin and her golden blond hair.
“You look absolutely gorgeous!” the shopkeeper said.
“Thank you…” Riza managed to murmur, going back in the dressing room and changing into her civilian clothes.
She ended up buying the dress. Thank goodness it had only cost her two hundred dollars. Its original price had been five hundred. She dropped into a couple other shops, buying the necessary accessories to go with her gown. She got diamond pins for her hair, a pair of blue high heels that were the same exact color as the dress, and she bought a small necklace that had a single diamond on it.
As soon as she got home, she put everything up, and fed Hayate. Then she got herself something simple to eat. She sat down on the couch afterwards, and snuggled under a fleecy blanket, ready to continue reading her romance novel. Hayate jumped up near her feet, and curled up, closing his eyes.
Just another typical day…
Frank leaned back in his desk chair, letting out a sigh. Hawkeye’s days off were something he dreaded. Because then he had to put up with Runa alone. Having finished all of his paperwork in good time, he had extra time on his hands to be leisurely. And he had no clue as to what to do with that extra time.
He spun around in the chair, and whistled an old jazz tune as he walked over to the window. And he narrowed his eyes as he looked. ‘Just what is Mustang doing now?’ he thought, bitterness creeping into his boredom. Just outside, heading towards the barracks, was Mustang with one of his loyal dunderheads. The one that smoked all the damn time. He sneered, turning around and going back to his desk.
He’d have Mustang sacked and packing to the East in shame in no time. It was all a matter of will power. And with a little help from First Lieutenant Hawkeye of course…Somehow, she had become vital to his plans to become Fuhrer and get this country settled HIS way. Yes, he had to do it all his way.
Riza walked into a quiet office, as she did everyday, but today was special. Runa was on sick leave. ‘She’s sick!’ Riza rejoiced in her head, sitting down at her desk, shifting through paperwork and humming a happy tune. Maybe she had a foreign disease and was going to die… or perhaps she would become disabled by it.
While Riza was coming in, Frank was preparing to exit. He had business to do, top secret business.
“Just where are you going?” Riza’s light tone came form her desk. He had to suppress a smirk.
“Out, I have some business to attend to. Don’t worry the paperwork is finished.” He replied to her question, grabbing his coat and walking briskly out the door.
She bit back a smart-ass reply and got started on her own paperwork as the door shut. She bit her lower lip in thought as she looked over the first document, slightly confused by it’s contents, but signing her name to it nonetheless, hoping she wasn’t screwing up something big.
“Do you think she signed the document?” Roy asked Havoc as they shifted through some files in one of the warehouses. “Knowing Hawkeye she probably did, though she may have been slightly confused.” Jean answered, puffing his cigarette. “Ha, it’s nice to know she can still help me become Fuhrer without actually having to be under my command.” Roy mused, staring into space.
“But who’s to say it will get through everyone else?” a cold voice said from the doorway. “Because I make some excellent points.” Roy said, looking up, his eyes hard.
“Ah-ah-ah, calm down Mustang. I’m only here to see what you’re up to.” Archer said in a calm tone, his eyes guarded.
“Well it’s none of your business, you can leave now.”
“Not so fast. I’m making it my business.”
“I you must know, I’m doing some research.”
“For your own personal use, or the Fuhrer’s?”
“That’s really none of your business, Archer.”
Frank’s eyes, if possible, went colder. He pushed himself off the door jam and uncrossed his arms. He took a step forward, so that he completely blocked the doorway.
“Just watch yourself Mustang, because when you least expect it, your world is going to come crashing down. And I’m going to be there to reap the benefits.” He said, his tone cold and frosty as he turned and walked out the door.
“He thinks he’s so high and mighty…” Havoc muttered, squishing his cigarette out. Roy just glared at the empty doorway for a few more minutes before going back to his research.
“She should be able to chose at the Military Ball.” Bradley murmured more to himself than Frank. Frank nodded, a smirk firmly in place.
“You’ve done an excellent job, Archer. I’m going to see what I can do about a promotion for you. It’d be nice to have a new face at the General’s tables.” Bradley continued, smiling his friendly smile. Inside, Frank doubted that smile was actually friendly. There was something about the Fuhrer that caused him to doubt sometimes.
“Thank you Sir, I won’t let you down.” Frank said proudly, saluting and walking out.
“Ah, Riza, still working?” Frank asked as he stepped back into the office. Riza looked up, startled for a moment. “Everyone else left when it was time to go. Which was 2 hours ago.” Frank continued.
Riza flushed for a second, and looked back at her paperwork. “I need to finish up here. You’ve been gone all day. Things piled up on me…” she made an excuse as she began to pile things together.
“You look tired, would you like another day off, perhaps?” Frank offered, taking his coat off its hook. Bribery always worked, no matter how smart the person. He had Riza Hawkeye’s trust, and friendship, but he needed more. He need the kind of loyalty she had give Mustang. If that included leading her on, then so it must be. Though he had inkling feeling in the back of his head that he might fall, too. He brushed it off as an annoyance.
“No, I couldn’t. I’m fine, really. I don’t like taking days off, I get behind and it makes me nervous.” Riza stated, her mouth twitching as she brushed past him to get her coat. Frank watched as she shrugged into it, and straightened it out, brushing off invisible lent. ‘God…I feel one of THOSE moments coming on…I’m supposed to be a fucking Ice Princess for god’s sake…not a…’ he didn’t get to finish his thoughts as he heard her voice.
“Colonel, are you okay?” she asked softly, her amber eyes on his. “If you can’t beat the feelings, join them.” He muttered, taking her hand and kissing it, still keeping eye contact with her. “You’re a gorgeous woman, Miss Hawkeye. Any man is a fool not to notice it. I’ll see you tomorrow.” He said, his voice cool and suave.
She stood there as he walked out of the office, and blushed a deep red. Had Colonel Frank Archer just…kissed her hand? Dazed for a few moments, she snapped out of it, and shook her head. He still had a ways to go before she even considered giving him her full loyalty. And he wouldn’t get it by making her fall for him either.
She didn’t know how wrong she was. And neither did he.
Frank cursed himself as he entered the house and hung up his coat, going to the kitchen. That’s where Sinatra, Buster, and Amadeus were waiting for him pointedly. They were three very hungry kitties.
“Alright, alright. Let me get the food…” he said soothingly as they all meowed at once and took their positions as he gave them a mix of soft and hard food. Once all three cats were contentedly eating, he went to his room and changed into more comfortable clothes. After he took a nice relaxing bubble bath of course.
Meanwhile, across town, after feeding her dog, Riza was also relaxing in a nice hot bubble bath.
She hummed a soft tune as she closed her eyes, sinking into the water, letting the scent of the bubbles fill her head. Then her thoughts drifted back to Archer. Her hands still burned where he had kissed it. But she still refused to believe it, or the fact that she could, slowly but surely be falling for him. She had sworn she’d never give her heart so easily again.
It would be a stupid thing to do, and it would cause a disaster to happen, she was sure of it. Little did she know the military ball would be the turning point to everything that was about to happen in her future. And that future included choosing. Frank Archer, or Roy Mustang?