(1937-12-24) Dance With Me
Details for Dance With Me
Summary: Ranjali and Audrey exchange gifts on Christmas Eve.
Date: December 24, 1937

With her family party scheduled to start on Christmas Day, Ranjali decided to schedule something private with Audrey for Christmas Eve. Thankfully, she'd already requested enough time off, giving her plenty to plan a meal of all of the things she's found the singer to be partial to (and a few of her own favorites as well) and to decorate the apartment with her best magical decorating skills. Which meant floating candles, a tree filled with moving ornaments, garlands and wreaths that slowly change color from green to red and back again, and a star floating atop the tree of sparkling gold and silver that glows from within.

Dinner passed by without a hitch, going rather perfectly in Ranjali's opinion, though as she directs the dishes to carry themselves to the kitchen her smiles tightens nervously. She shifts in her seat, unnecessarily adjusting her ivory and gold saree and running a hand through her hair, which she has left loose tonight. "I… I hope its alright if I, ah, give you my gift a little early? There's so often very little time at the estate… "

When Audrey came home from her Christmas Eve performance to the decorated flat, she was wiping tears from her eyes, and showering Ranjali with kisses. Dinner had her eyes rolling back in her head and moaning with delight at each bite, leaving her slouching slightly in her chair, delectably full. "You're going to spoil me to death, Ranji. But, if I must die, I'll die spoiled and happy." She giggles, nodding eagerly. "I'd like to give you mine as well, then."

Ranjali nods, "If you like. Just a moment." After giving Audrey a fleetingly adoring glance, she hurries from her seat and up the stairs. She returns a little after the last of the dishes have been cleared, carrying three boxes. Two of these are quite large, while the third is roughly the size of a book. The smaller one is wrapped in a deep blue and tied with silver ribbon, while the larger two are each wrapped in bright red with gold ribbons. "My mother sent her gifts over as well."

Audrey has to pull her eyes away from the magnificent decor when Ranjali returns. "She's such a dear. I'll open hers first." Awaiting Ranji's direction to know which is which, she'll dive right in. This is one thing Audrey is not delicate about. There is wrapping paper and ribbons between her and her pressies, and it must be destroyed!

Ranjali slides the two larger gifts over with a nod, "Yes, of course." In fact, that was exactly what she'd been hoping for. With a small giggle for Audrey's 'enthusiastic' unwrapping techniques, she sits once more, carefully still holding her own gift.

The two large boxes both hold items of clothing. Inside one is a coat of pure white trimmed with fox fur, and in the other a gown of pale gold nearly covered with crystals at the top, which swirl down to form rays that shoot across the short train. Tucked inside the box with the dress is a small card with a single note, with no signature, that simply says, 'I told you so.'

Audrey gasps aloud when she pulls the coat out, rubbing the fox fur against her cheek lovingly. "Oh, my word!" But when she lifts up the gown, she is speechless, jaw hanging open. At least, until she reads the card, and laughs, blushing brightly and giving Ranjali a loving gaze. She shows her the card as she leans down to kiss her lips. "Your mother is a wise woman."

Though curious, Ranjali returns the kiss before looking to the note. Kissing Audrey always takes precedent. As she sees the card, another giggle escapes her. "Yes, yes she is indeed." Blushing now as well, she looks up, once more biting her lip for a minute. The last box is lifted more slowly after that minute, and once its in Audrey's hands she starts cleaning the bits of torn paper from the table, clearing the way for the small gift. Her nervousness is returning again, her movements now a little stiff, losing some of their usual grace.

Audrey watches Ranjali curiously. It's been some time since she was truly nervous around Audrey. What could possibly have her so anxious? She lifts her brow, still beaming broadly, and does handle this gift with a bit more care as she tears back the wrapping paper.

Under the paper is not a book, but a blue velvet box. Engraved on the top of the box is the name of one of London's most prominent jewelers, and inside is a matching set of necklace, earrings, and bracelet. Each piece is formed of white diamonds shaped into rows of rose petals around yellow diamond centers. Many of the yellow diamonds, especially, are quite large, some larger than Audrey's thumbnail.

All the while Audrey is opening the gift Ranjali watches her, her lower lip continually worried between her teeth, her eyes full of a mixture of worry and hope.

Audrey the candles reflect off of the stunning jewelry as she opens the box, sparkling light playing across her face. She gets in one gasp before her breath leaves her, hand going to her bosom in stunned awe. "Ranji," she rasps, blinking in disbelief. "They're just…so…radiantly beautiful. Oh, my sweet goddess." She reaches a hand toward Ranjali, her eyes welling up with tears.

Ranjali's eyes remain glued to Audrey, lighting up as she smiles one of her brightest smiles on seeing her love's reaction. "/You're/ radiantly beautiful." She insists, wrapping both hands around Audrey's. "I wanted so very much to show you, my sun and stars, how much you mean to me.

Audrey chokes back a happy sob, and tugs on Ranjali's hands to draw her near, placing a kiss on her fingers. "Put them on me?" She whispers meekly.

Ranjali nods, and hurries to do so. She rises and steps around behind Audrey, and starting with the earrings and bracelet carefully attaches each piece. Her fingers linger, a little, caressing the side of the singer's cheek, her hand, and finally her shoulders as she carefully lifts the necklace and clasps it about her neck. "Its just as I imagined," She whispers, lifting her wand to summon a mirror.

Audrey, already emotional, shivers at her lover's caresses. When her hands are free, she is gently dabbing at the tears in her eyes with a napkin, trying not to smudge her mascara. She gazes into the mirror is absolute awe. She reaches back behind her to stroke Ranjali's arm. "I feel like a princess," she giggles softly, sniffling.

Ranjali watches Audrey through her reflection, and chuckles, her eyes sparkling with faint amusement. "Then I shall have to impress Master Healer Hawke even more next year, and do better. You should feel like a queen. Always." She slips her arms around Audrey's shoulders, and leans forward to press a kiss to the side of her neck. "I'm so glad you like them."

Audrey rises from her seat, twirling around to pull Ranjali into her arms. "Queens have nothing on me when I'm in your arms. I love you. I love having you here…in our private world." She casts her gaze about the apartment, eyes lingering on all of the touches that are so distinctly Ranjali now. "Dance with me?" She steps toward the living room, clinging to Ranji's hand to tug her along with her as she moves to put the needle on a record in the gramophone.

Ranjali's eyes never once leave Audrey. Its like that first night all over again, when she first saw the woman, and could see nothing else. She moves into the dance with a nod and steps in close, wrapping an arm about the blonde's waist. The other trails lightly over Audrey's face, her neck, and down over the jewels, as her eyes remain on her face. "Yes." She murmurs, "I love you, so much, Audrey. I can't imagine its possible to be any happier… "

Audrey sways with Ranjali to the soft tones of "Silent Night" on the gramophone. The sparkling of her jewelry only adds to the glow coming from the woman. "Every day with you, I can't believe I'm living this life. It's like waking up to a fairy tale." Then, revealing that she had apparently plotted to get Ranjali into the living room tonight, she reaches over between some books on a shelf, producing a box about the same size as the one she received. She presents it to her dance partner. "Happy Christmas, Ranji."

Ranjali's eyes sparkle at first, and as the dance goes on begin to shimmer with happy tears of her own. "I never would have thought… I never would have hoped I could be the one to make you happy." She almost doesn't even notice the gift at first, she's so busy staring. When she does she blinks, stepping back to take it with a whispered, "Oh, thank you!" And she hasn't even opened it yet! But she does, slowly, with the care of one with practice in saving her wrapping paper (even though she's never needed to afford to).

Apparently, the women think alike. Within the box rest a choker and matching earrings of silver, with diamonds and black pearls. "If I am your sun and stars, you are my moon and sky. You light my way in the night." Audrey doesn't wait for an invitation, and lifts the choker from the box, moving to place it around Ranjali's neck.

Is it possible for Ranjali to be even more in awe? Somehow, she's managing. The tears spill over now as she reaches up, gently fingering the dark pearls. "Oh, Audrey." Her voice is barely even a whisper, and after a few failed attempts to say something more, she sets the box down on the nearest table and reaches for Audrey's face, pulling her forward for a long, slow kiss.

Audrey melts into that kiss, curling her arms around Ranjali and pressing in close to her. Could Ranjali be more in awe? Maybe. "There's more," she whispers when she gets a chance for a breath.

Ranjali pulls back only enough to speak, keeping hold of Audrey as she gasps, "More? But, Audrey, you didn't have to. This is already so much… "

Audrey teasingly rolls her eyes. "There is no such thing as too much." She pulls away, albeit reluctantly, and reaches behind a bookcase, drawing out something large and flat, covered in a sheet. She rests it up against the front of the bookcase, and pulls the sheet away, revealing a framed theatrical poster. It is done in art deco style, with the words:

Audrey Taylor and Ranjali Winterthorne in…


A Surprising Tale of Unlikely Romance!

The art itself is a stylized depiction of what must be Audrey and Ranjali, elegantly dressed and dancing together.

Ranjali frowns at the strange package, tilting her head one way and then the other as the tries to guess what it could be. Slowly, as the poster is revealed, the confusion fades into wide-eyed shock. She lifts a shaking hand to her lips, pointing speechlessly as she looks up, able to produce only a tiny gasp.

Audrey bites her lip, suddenly filled with the same nervousness Ranjali so recently displayed. "Is it…is it alright? Did the artist portray you with too much midriff? Is it completely tacky? I can get rid of it if you don't like it."

Hurriedly, so that her hair sways slightly around her waist, Ranjali shakes her head. She hurries forward, reaching for Audrey's hands and finally finding her voice again, "Oh, no no its… its amazing! I can't even believe you would… but is… is it real?" She looks from the poster to Audrey, still uncertain, "I mean… do you want me to… go on the stage?"

Audrey grins broadly. "I could arrange it," she says, eyes suddenly lighting up at the idea. "But this…this isn't a poster for an imaginary tale like I play on stage. This story is real. It's our story." She links her hands with Ranjali's, against pressing close to her. "And we're only in Act One. Who knows what the future will bring?" She leans in, letting Ranjali feel her breath before her lips.

Ranjali giggles,breathless and overwhelmed, though as she gets her answer she relaxes a little, the fear of being on stage fading. Its quickly replaced by the return of her overjoyed tears, which she hastily brushes aside before pressing her lips to Audrey's. Her hands slide into the woman's blond locks as she kisses Audrey again and again, trying to hold back both tears and laughter. "Everything." She whispers, "Everything we could ever dream of. That's what!"

Audrey sighs happily, clinging possessively to Ranjali. "More than that, even. My dreams didn't even come close to what we've got." As another slow, somber song comes on the gramophone, she begins to sway again, drawing Ranjali back into the dance. "Dance with me," she repeats, laying her head to rest on Ranjali's shoulder. "Dance with me forever."

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