Summary: Rosa has been feeling insecure lately about her relationship with Alfred. He's too handsome and charismatic, and she feels average and ordinary by comparison. What she doesn't know is how much higher he thinks she really is than him, so he has to show her . . . quite literally. Be prepared for tons of fluff and squee! USXfem!UK a.k.a Nyotalia!UK (I think it's obvious that this is AU, but you can pretend it's not if you want to )
Rosa tugged on her bikini bottom one more time before stepping out of the changing tent. As the August sunshine warmed her bare belly, she immediately regretted letting Amelia convince her (1) to buy the blasted thing and (2) to wear it to the beach picnic they were having. I don't have the figure for something like this
, she silently moaned, glancing down at her B-cup chest and touching her waist. A figure-flattering one-piece would have been a better choice.
She looked around for the reason she wanted the attention, the reason she picked red (his
favorite colour) over the other styles and colours available, and spotted him.
She frowned and narrowed her green eyes. Alfred was busy chatting with 5 girls all at the same time. A few of them were laughing and blushing while others subconsciously were reacting to him because they couldn't stop tucking hair behind their ears or blinking rapidly. One girl reached out and boldly touched him on the arm.
Rosa felt her temperature rise at this blatant effort by the girl to get Alfred to notice only her. It is almost common knowledge among most women that the move that girl just made, or any
physical contact for that matter, was all it took for some men to be unable to focus on anyone else. Alfred laughed, seemingly embarrassed by the contact, and ran a hand through his blond hair before adjusting his glasses.
Rosa kicked the sand in front of her and gave into the insecurities that told her what she already knew: she couldn't compete with those girls. After all, they looked like they were the same age as Alfred and, at 23, she was 4 years his senior. She still didn't understand why he would want to go out with her when he had his pick of younger women from his own country.
Even without the age difference issue, the odds of them never crossing paths in the first place had already been against them from the start because (1) she was from England and would never have wasted a holiday visiting the States if her brother, Arthur, hadn't been living there, (2) if Arthur hadn't gotten the courage to finally ask out Alfred's sister, Amelia, she and Alfred would never have been introduced, and (3) there weren't a lot of things she and Alfred had in common, interest-wise; in fact, some interests were opposites. Despite this opposition to any affection starting between them, they did feel an attraction to each other, which had slowly grown into more than just that. At least, that was the case for Rosa; she wasn't sure how Alfred felt about her.
She eyed the flirty girl and felt her cheeks tingle when she saw Alfred glance over her way, catching her gaze with those beautiful blue eyes that she had fallen in love with from the first time she saw him. He looked as if he was surprised to see her standing there. She glared at him before flipping her long blond hair over her shoulder. Well, she can have the git
, Rosa thought, turning and marching down to the water's edge.
She felt the sea air caressed her face, but it did nothing to cool her head. I wore this bloody thing for nothing. He doesn't even know I'm alive. I didn't want to come here because I can't swim that well, but Amelia insisted so fervently . . .
. She stared down at her feet as the waves tickled her toes and felt her eyes started to sting. Gah! Don't cry over an idiot who can't see what he's missing,
she silently told herself.
Suddenly she felt a heavy weight press against her back, almost causing her to stumble into the water. "Awww man. I missed it," Alfred groaned, leaning his chest against her back before wrapping his arms around her shoulders and collarbone.
Still angry at him, she pushed his arms off and stepped into the water, keeping her back turned to him. "What the bloody hell are you talking about? Missed what?" She glanced over her shoulder at him before looking away again. "Why are you over here anyway? Weren't you going to hook up with one of your fans?"
"Come on, don't be like that, Rosie," Alfred said. She could hear him take a step forward into the water. "I'm dating you
, not them. I don't even get why they would want to talk to me anyway, especially with Antonio, Francis, and Gilbert posing like body-builders over there."
Rosa had to suppress the shout she felt aching to get out. It's because you're so bloody handsome, you clueless berk!
She tried not to think about how much better he looked with his shirt offlike he was now in his rolled-up jeans and nothing elsethan all three of his friends put together. No, she couldn't be distracted by that while she was angry at him for being a jerk.
"I mean, there I was just minding my own business," he continued, "waiting for you to come out of that changing tent when they suddenly swarmed around me, saying they were 'on their way to the ice cream truck' and did I 'want to come along'. They asked me all sorts of annoying questions like if I was a local and if I was waiting for someone, and I told them I was . . . uh . . . waiting for you, that is."
She turned around to face him. "You were waiting for me?" She raised an eyebrow and adjusted her glasses. "Why?"
He gave her a smile that made her heart feel like a butterfly was trapped inside it. "Ever since Ames told me she finally managed to get you to buy a bikini, I've been losing sleep wondering what it would look like on you," he said, crossing his arms and giving her a once-over. "I'm disappointed I didn't get to see it the instant you walked out, but this is a nice view too." He winked at her and gestured approval with a "thumbs-up" move. "You look beachy keen."
Rosa's entire head felt like it was about to ignite in reaction despite the terrible pun he'd just made. Embarrassed by his continued gaze, she folded her arms over her bikini top, closed her eyes, and thrust her chin to the sky, trying to pretend she wasn't affected by him at all. "Like I care what a player like you thinks."
For several moments, the only sounds Rosa heard were the crash of the waves, the shrieks of laughter and muddled conversations of beach-goers, and rumble of roller-coasters (or big dippers as they were called in the UK) and calliope music+ punctuated by screams from a nearby amusement park. She felt her stomach clench. Did he get angry and leave?
"And that's what you think of me? That I'm a player?" he said finally.
Alfred's voice sounded suddenly very close to her, so she opened her eyes to see that he actually was a mere 20 centimeters* from her face. Too close!
She stumbled backwards away from him. The ocean water melted the sand out from under her feet, and she started to fall. She closed her eyes and let out a shriek, waiting for a soaking that never came. Alfred had easily caught her. Without a word, he lifted her slightly off the ground and carried her until they were at least 3 meters* from the water's edge and safe from the waves before setting her down again.
"T-th-thank you," she said, feeling embarrassed by her awkward clumsiness and the closeness of their bodies. She looked down and pushed on his chest trying to get away from him, but he wasn't having any of that. He held her close, wrapping his arms around her waist.
"You're welcome," he replied, "but I'm not gonna let you off with just a 'thank you'. I think a hero who just saved the prettiest woman on the beach from drowning deserves a kiss."
"This is what I was talking about," she snarked. "Only a player would say something like that . . . and I'm not the prettiest woman on the beach." She tried stepping away from him again. This time he let her go. She took a few steps before turning to look at him, and her heart skipped a beat at the serious expression in his eyes.
"I'm not playing," he said, staring into her eyes. "I am the lucky guy who has the prettiest girlfriend on the beachno, in the whole world, and every guy within 50 feet of you knows it because they were all staring at you. I had to leave those silly teenyboppers and come over here and let everyone know you were mine."
Rosa let out a scoff. "I'm not yours."
He laughed in response. "True. I'm helplessly and totally yours, and I desperately hope you'll let me call you 'mine' one day." He took a step toward her and opened his arms. "Please let me win you over? I know a sexy and amazing woman like you could have any guy you wanted, but I'm asking you to have pity on this silly younger guy."
Rosa felt like she couldn't breathe for a moment. Why does he always disarm me like this?
she wondered. It's like I can't help myself.
She stepped towards him. "All right," she said, opening her arms. "But you don't need to put me so high up above you. I'm not that great."
He rushed forward and scooped her up by her waist, lifting her above his head. "Don't be silly," he said with a smile. "Of course I have to
because you are
." He let out a laugh. "Quite literally
She let out a giggle. "Alfred, what are you doing?" she yelped, grabbing him around his neck to keep from falling out of his arms. "People are watching."
He glanced around. "Huh? No, they're not."
She dropped her arms onto his shoulders, using them to prop herself up, and looked around to confirm his statement. Sure enough, parents were distracted by their splashing children, kids of all ages were crowding around the ice cream truck, couples were walking in the opposite direction from where they were, the teenyboppers who had flirted with Alfred had already moved on to their next targetAlfred's trio of friendsand Amelia was distracting Arthur by having him put sunscreen on her back. She felt like someone was missing from the scene, but she couldn't figure out who.
"Put me down," she commanded, smacking him lightly on his shoulder with her hand. "I'm heavy."
"Relax; I won't drop you," he said with a laugh. "You're light as a feather."
She looked down at him. "Flatterer. Where did you learn to say the right things at just the right time?"
"Amelia has been drilling me all week," he replied, gazing up at her with an amused look, "but even if she hadn't, I'm only telling the truth: A little thing like you weighs nothing to a guy like me."
His expression turned into a gentler, warmer one, and her heart fluttered again. Rosa opened her mouth to express what she was feeling inside when Alfred took the words right out of her mouth.
"I love you, Rose," he said, holding her in his gaze. "I have from the first moment I saw you."
She flustered but then decided to try to give him a taste of his own medicine by acting like a "player" like him. "No more talking, Al," she commanded. "Otherwise, I can't give you your reward for saving my life." She leaned down, bringing her mouth close to his. "I love you too," she said before he closed the space between them.
He pulled away from her far too quickly, and she felt a bit disappointed. He grinned up at her. "Wait. Did you just say what I think you said?" he asked like a kid who just found out he got the toy he wanted for Christmas.
She nodded. "Now can I get a longer version of what we were just doing, please?"
He dropped her into his arms and spun them both around, laughing as he did. She squealed out return laughter and held tightly onto him to keep from flying out of his arms. After several moments of whirling around and making them both quite dizzy, Alfred stopped and allowed her to find her footing before pulling her closer to him.
"I'll give you whatever you want, my Rose," he said, reaching up to caress her cheek and bring his lips to meet hers again.
This time she didn't argue with him about who belonged to whom.
*20 centimeters is about 7 inches, and 3 meters is about 10 feet for us non-metric users. B/c this is told from Rosa's POV I needed to keep the measurements in terms she would know better.
+Calliope music is pronounced /kəˈlaɪ.əpiː/ kə-LY-ə-pee, but the instrument was generally pronounced /ˈkæli.oʊp/ KAL-ee-ohp. The music is named after a musical instrument that produces sound by sending a gas, originally steam or more recently compressed air, through large whistles, originally locomotive whistles (though some of it is synthesized now using other instruments or computer-generated instruments). A calliope is typically very loud. Even some small calliopes are audible for miles around (which is one of the main reasons amusement parks use them...so that people know where they are located).