I should've worshiped her sooner
This was the third performance that Archer had bought tickets to, but the first he'd actually attended. He'd been pretty well convinced he wasn't going to this one either, but he'd made the blasted mistake of telling her partner about this and she'd gone and lost her mind. She'd gone to Sarge herself, requested the night off for the both of them and then showed up to his apartment with a suit and all but stuffed him into it. There was no stopped the woman when she had her mind to something and Arianna had absolutely decided that Archer was going to this event whether he liked it or not. Some part of him was glad, glad to have her as his partner, glad that she made this decision for him. She was easily his closest friend, more a sister than a friend really. The two of them had a bond that went beyond partnership. He trusted her with her life, something he couldn't say about anyone else. Tonight Arianna had used that trust against him, not that he'd damn her for it, but he did feel like puking most of the evening. He'd shaved his face, even put on cologne. He felt awkward in the shirt and tie he wore, Arianna looking like a million bucks in her dress. She'd assured him multiple times he looked fine, handsome even if she'd had to say it. He didn't much believe her, but she'd pushed him out the door and into the awaiting Uber anyway.
Finding their seats hadn't been a problem, Arianna on his arm as his eyes had darted around the concert hall. She'd grabbed a program since of course, he'd been too busy searching the faces of those around them. She'd told him not to look so nervous, but anxiety was wound tight in his gut. He hadn't actually seen Devina in years
, a lot of years if you got down to it. It was highly likely that she was married, maybe even had kids. She was surely past her high school sweetheart, even if they'd dated for most of said high school experience. He'd swallowed hard as Arianna had settled them into their seats. He'd looked through the program, his eyes settling on her name as he read it over and over. Eventually he'd flipped the program over so he couldn't, then he'd begun to twist the paper for lack of anything better to do. Arianna had taken it from him, smacking his hands with it as she narrowed her eyes at him.
The performance was beautiful. Archer wasn't an artist of any kind, he couldn't sing and to listen to him try his hand at an instrument was ear splitting. That said, he'd always been able to appreciate it. Devina had even played a solo and he'd found himself mesmerized by her, forgetting for those few moments to be worried or anxious. It was easy to lose himself in her piece, but of course he found all of that worry again soon enough. Still, she'd been able to erase it for at least most of the performance, Arianna only having to hit him twice for his leg bouncing.
He'd stood almost immediately once it was over, though he'd clapped politely along with the others in attendance. He was ready to leave, to flee actually but of course his partner already had her vice like grip on him. Arianna was a good several inches shorter than he was, petite and slim but she had a strength to her that came from years of training. She forced him to walk at a leisurely pace into the main lobby, Archer already steering them for the exit. She'd pulled on him hard, telling him he'd already gotten this far, why not ask for Devina by name? They fought about that for a moment before Arianna had simply ignored him, grabbing someone who looked like they knew what they were doing and asking if Devina Chandra would be down to greet the audience. The person assured her that she would and Arianna looked pointedly at Archer who's face was already tinted pink. "Dammit Ari, can't we just leave? She's probably busy. She's probably got someone waiting on her,"
He grumbled even as his partner came back to him. Arianna scoffed at him of course and another argument ensued. He was ready to ring her neck, but she wasn't about to come off of this. She was determined that he was going to swim this tonight, though Archer felt a great deal like he was sinking into the abyss.
Arianna's eyes lit up. I see her!
Archer had shown her pictures of their prom a while back, absolutely at her insistence and not because he'd wanted to. Archer froze when she'd spoken, his eyes widening. His stomach fell and again, he was sure he was going to puke. Arianna, damn her, grabbed him and whirled him around, pushing him forward. "I- wait a minute!"
his voice was rushed, but by now Devina was standing directly in front of him, as gorgeous as ever. He thought he might just crumble, but Arianna elbowed him hard in the side. He grunted, but put on a crooked sort of smile. "I uh, hey."
Beside him his partner was rolling her eyes and heaving a sigh. She wasn't impressed. "Sorry I'm, uh. Sorry. Hey Devina. It's great to see you."
Arianna perked somewhat as Archer glanced at her. She made a face that clearly said say something else you idiot. "This is my partner, Arianna Gordon. Arianna, Devina."
Arianna smiled, nodding her greeting before speaking up. I'll just be outside, gotta make a phone call anyway. Don't rush!
Of course she was going to abandon him. Arianna turned on her heel before he could articulate a response. He was going to beat that girl later on.
He turned to look at Devina again and paused just a moment. She was breathtaking, no longer the teenager he'd been dreaming of but a girl who had blossomed into a woman. He felt his heart hammering in his chest and he was sure everyone could hear it. "The performance was great. I mean, you were great. It was... it was really beautiful."
Once upon a time he'd had a way with words, though he felt like he was back in high school again, turning around to see that Devina had traded spots with someone just to be his lab partner. Things couldn't possibly go as well this time around, right?
☼ DEVINA CHANDRA ☼