At the same time everyone celebrated Alya's birthday, at Le Zenith, four large trucks stopped on the loading area. These were the trucks that were part of the KISS entourage, and they were carrying everything the band needed for a massive tour. The sound equipment, the personalized stage, the instruments, the lighting equipment, the fireworks, it was all in those four trucks. Like it always happened, these trucks would arrive at the place where the band was going to play, 48 hours earlier, to set things up, so that when KISS showed up in front of a massive crowd that was going to fill that arena, everything was perfect. Once they were given the authorization from both the arena's security personal and the event's promotor, the roadie crew wasted no time. Opening the trucks, they begin to unload everything that was inside them.
And while that happened, back in Jagged Stone's penthouse, the musician was getting ready for a photoshoot for the Rolling Stone magazine. This photoshoot was scheduled the moment Jagged signed on to be the opening act for KISS. And like every photoshoot of his, Jagged was the one who decided what he was going to wear in it. It was not that he did not trust the wardrobe stylists and consultants, but he believed when it came to find the perfect clothes for a shoot, he was the only one he could trust; him and his agent, Penny, who sometimes helped him choosing his clothes, which what she was doing right then, while also checking the face-paint design Marinette had created for Jagged, for what was already the thirtieth time that time of day.
"I have to say, the girl did an incredible job." -Penny said, while holding the drawing in her right hand.
"No, not incredible. Phenomenal is more like it, Penny." -Jagged told her. –"And you should have seen her talking. The girl talked with both a knowledge and a patience, way beyond her years. You know how teenagers are. They are reckless, impulsive, they do things without thinking. Well, this girl, Marinette, is the polar opposite of that. She is not like your ordinary teenage girl." -he told her. –"I don't know what it is about her, but she… well, she's got something that makes her one of a kind."
"Something tells me you have developed a soft spot for that girl, in the short time you met her." -Penny declared.
"I have to admit the girl did make a great impression on me." -Jagged said, as he tried on another jacket. –"And that's not an easy thing." -he declared.
"She must have. Otherwise, you wouldn't have told me to get you fourteen VIP tickets, complete with backstage passes, so you could give them to her and her whole class." -Penny told him. –"And let me tell you, it wasn't an easy thing to do." -she confessed.
"I can imagine it. Still, I knew you would be able to do it. You always do." -Jagged smiled at her. –"What do you think of this one?" -he asked her.
"Too bright. You want my serious opinion, regarding this photoshoot you're about to do?" -Penny asked him.
"Is that a trick question? Because I know that even if I say no, you're going to tell it to me, anyway." -Jagged joked, as he undressed the jacket.
"Very funny…" -Penny told him, with a voice filled with sarcasm. –"But seriously, I think that you're trying too much. I know this photoshoot is very important for you, after all, I'm the one who scheduled it. I know you want to look good on the pages of Rolling Stone, alongside KISS, but you've got to take it a little easier. You've got to be more yourself." -she said.
"I am being myself, Penny. I'm just trying to be a better version of myself. Besides, I just want to pick a cool outfit that matches this face-paint. I don't want to reinvent myself." -Jagged said. –"By the way, who's the photographer they're sending for this photoshoot? Is it the one from the last three photoshoots?" -he asked Penny. He had liked to work with the man, though he could not remember his name. The only thing he remembered was his hair style, which reminded him of some characters in the Final Fantasy franchise.
"I'm afraid not. All of their usual photographers are unavailable, covering a music festival in Nice." -Penny said. –"They're sending a freelance photographer for this one… according to the email the magazine sent me, his name is Vincent Rizzo." -she said, while reading the email, on her tablet. –"Among his credentials, he has worked as a photographer for numerous people in the fashion business, including the Agreste brand."
"Agreste, you say? Well, I know for a fact that Gabriel Agreste only hires the best. So, if he's good enough to have worked for him, then he'll be more than competent for this photoshoot… okay, let's see, what about this one?" -Jagged asked, as he put on a purple
"Too much Prince meets the Joker from Tim Burton's Barman… maybe a black leather jacket would be better." -Penny said.
"I'm always wearing black leather jackets, Penny. There's got to be something in my wardrobe that is both different and perfect for this photoshoot. I just need to find it…" -Jagged sighed, as he entered in his wardrobe and looked for another jacket. Going through his collection of leather jackets, he hoped to find one. –"This is ridiculous… don't tell me I still need to go shopping for one today?" -he asked, when he found the one he felt it was perfect, and removed if from the hanger it was on. –"Here is it! This one here will look perfect!"
The leather jacket that Jagged had grabbed was one that he had completely forgotten he had. It was one of his oldest jackets, and he probably only wore it a couple of times over the years. It was a black and brown leather jacket that mirrored the scales of a reptile. When he saw it, he deemed it perfect for both the photoshoot and the concert on Saturday. Donning it, he looked himself in the mirror inside the wardrobe and agreed that he had done a good choice. Exiting the wardrobe, he asked Penny's opinion.
"So, what do you think?"
"It looks good. You really look like you're wearing a crocodile." -Penny commented.
"Yeah, a fake one. You know I don't wear real fur, or leather made of endangered species." -Jagged said. –"And now that I'm thinking about it, maybe Fang would like to participate in this photoshoot. Do you think the photographer would have a problem with it?"
"I don't know. But we can ask him when he arrives." -Penny said, as she checked the time. –"I'll go wake up his reptile highness, so he's not grumpy, when the photographer arrives." -she said.
"How long do we have, before he shows up?" -Jagged asked her, as he straighten the jacket.
"Forty-five minutes. That will give the hairstylist and the make-up artist to do their job, who should be arriving in five minutes, give it or take." -Penny said, when she heard a bell ringing; this one coming from her tablet.
Checking it, she saw it was a videocall. Touching the screen, she saw it was a call that Jagged had been waiting for. It was Paul "The Starchild" Stanley, lead vocalist and guitarist of KISS. He had sent Jagged an email, warning him that he would be calling you, so they could talk.
"I think you'll want to get this." -Penny said, as she handed him the tablet. –"If you need me, I'll be trying to wake up your pet crocodile." -she told him, before leaving him to answer the call.
Answering the call, he saw Paul on the screen. Upon seeing him, it took Jagged a second or two to realize it was him, for he was not used to seeing many photos of Paul without his iconic face-paint on. Behind him, he also saw the other members of the band, and they all appeared to be aboard a jet plane, judging by their surroundings.
"Good morning, Jagged." -Paul greeted Jagged with a well-humoured voice.
"Paul, how are you?!" -Jagged asked him. He tried his best not to sound like he was incredibly excited with that videocall. Right then, he felt like a little kid inside a candy store.
"Pretty good, Jagged, pretty good." –Paul told him. –"I was just calling you on behalf of the whole band, to tell you that we're on our way, right now. And to also thank you for doing us this favour." -he said.
"Hey, I'm the one who has to thank you. From all the great musicians out there, you picked me." -Jagged said. –"I can't wait to meet you all, tomorrow at the press conference." -he declared.
"Us too. By the way, are you going to wear that face-paint you sent us yesterday, at the press conference?" -Paul asked him.
"No. I was thinking about saving it for the concert. You know, like a surprise." -Jagged stated.
"That's a good idea. If there's one thing our fans love in our concerts, is surprises." -Paul said. –"Still, it's a bit of a shame you not wearing it at the press conference tomorrow. That face-paint is awesome." -he told him.
"Well, I did have a great artist working on it." -Jagged declared. –"You'll all have the opportunity to meet her at the concert." -he said.
"Really? Then, we'll be waiting to meet her." -Paul said. –"Oops, sorry cutting close, but I've got another call I have to take. But look, tomorrow we'll be sure to spend a little more time talking and discussing how we're going to do things, when we're on stage." -he told him. –"I'll see you tomorrow."
With dinner finished and the dishes washed, Rose told her parents that she was going to her room and do the rest of her homework. But what she was also going to do, was to talk to her girlfriend online. That day had been a crazy one, even by her standards. She did not want to admit to anyone, even herself, but she did not believe Chloe would get the tickets for the concert. And it was not that she did not believe Chloe would try her best to get them. She just did not believe good fortune would smile upon her and the others, when it came to getting tickets for a new concert. Fortunately, she was proven wrong and she could not be happier about it. When the heiress told her and everyone else to check their cell phones, and she saw what she had gotten them, she was thrilled. And when she got home, the first thing she did, was asking her parents if she could go to the new concert. It was easy convincing them, even if she had to sweet talk them a little, which was not difficult. Being an only child, she was the apple of her parents' eyes, and over the years, she had learned the words she needed to say to convince them of just about everything. Though there were times when that did not work. Luckily, that little trick worked more times than it did not, and on that night, it had worked, and it was the first thing Juleka has asked her, once they were online.
"So, how did your parents take the news?" -Juleka asked her.
"Well, they were a little surprised about it, especially since I supposedly went to a concert last week." -Rose told her. –"But it did not take much for me to sweet talk them to allow me to go." -she said. –"My dad, who's actually a big fan of KISS, even asked me to get him an autograph from the whole band, when I meet them. I didn't even know he listened to them, you know?"
"It's like my mom usually says. "You find out the craziest things about your parents, during the most unexpected of times.", and she's right." -Juleka said. –"When I told my dad and her about the concert, she revealed that she followed the band's Revenge Tour, when they played in the UK, in 1992." -she told the blonde. –"Needless to say that she was jelly of me, when I told her that I was going to meet them."
"And let me guess, she was not the only one, right?" -Rose asked her, with a mischievous look in her eyes.
"Oh, believe me, she wasn't. Luka practically begged me to give him my ticket and backstage pass. He even kneeled in front of me, and begged, even knowing my parents would never allow him to go, because of that grade of his." -Juleka giggled. –"I think that the punishment my parents gave him, is beginning to make him go a little desperate." -she joked.
"I can only imagine the scene." -Rose giggled, when she heard a light snore. Looking to her left, she saw the snore had come from Flint. –"Guess you ate too many sweets today, Flint. You always end up falling asleep, after eating too many sweets, and looks like today is one of those days." -she thought to herself, feeling it was funny for that to happen, because sugar tends to make people, and even kwamis hyperactive. But not Flint; the flamingo kwami was the polar opposite of it. In his case, too much sugar made him sleepy –"Either way, did he make you promise anything, when you go to the concert?"
"Absolutely. He made me promise I would get him a t-shirt signed by the whole band." -Juleka chuckled.
"That's so typical of him." -Rose giggled. –"He just loves collecting band t-shirts signed by the bands themselves, doesn't he?" -she asked her.
"That's Luka for you. Can you believe that he already has more than 60 in his collection?" -Juleka asked her. –"It's true that most of them are just underground or garage bands, but he's really proud of them. And one thing's for sure. If the day comes, where he doesn't have anything to wear, he'll just have to go through his collection and grab the one that's on top." -she joked.
"You know, it's a funny thing…" -Rose said.
"What? What's funny?" -Juleka asked her.
"We've been friends for years now, and a little more than that for a couple of months. And you want to know one thing? During this whole time, we know each other, you only say jokes, when it's just the two of us." -Rose pointed out. –"In fact, I'm the only one who gets to tell you jokes." -she smiled at her girlfriend.
"No, you're not." -Juleka smiled back at Rose. –"Tamara also gets me to tell jokes, when she's in the mood." -she kept smiling.
"Tamara? Prove it!" -Rose said, giggling.,
"I would love to, but she fell asleep, while listening to music." -Juleka told her, as she looked over her right shoulder and saw the raven kwami sleeping soundly on top of her pillow, with the iPod next to her.
"Same with Flint, but in his case, he ate too much sugar." -Rose said. –"Still, I don't believe that your kwami is able to convince you to tell jokes." -she said, in a playful tone. –"You'll have to prove that, some other time."
"I will, then." -Juleka said, as she winked at her. –"By the way, you still haven't told me a thing about my new nightgown. What do you think?"
When they turned on the cameras to chat with each other, Juleka had just finished putting on her new nightgown. She had bought it a few weeks before, but only now was she trying it on. It was a purple and black nightgown, which highlighted her what made
"It looks very Goth… and sweet, like you." –Rose joked. –"But seriously, I like it. Those purple and black ribbons look super cute, as well as the bunny. Plus, it highlights all your good parts." -she said, as she winked at her.
"Thanks." -Juleka thanked her. –"I bought it, while thinking about you… or better, your taste for cute things." -she smiled. –"Do you think it's a little too revealing, for me to wear at a sleepover?"
"No, I don't think so." -Rose said. –"I mean, we've both seen Chloe wearing nightgowns and pyjamas that are more revealing than that. But, it's more about if you'll feel comfortable with it, or not." -she told her. –"But why are you asking me that? Is it about that sleepover idea we all talked last week?"
"Sort of. I know we can't do a sleepover with everyone, but maybe we girls could do it, next week, or two weeks from now. We should really try to throw a sleepover." -Juleka said. –"And well, I wanted your opinion, regarding the nightgown. But now, I'm thinking about it, and I don't if I'll feel alright, wearing it, in front of everyone." -she sighed.
Rose recognized the look in Juleka's eyes. She had seen it more times than she could remember. It was the look she made, when she was unsure about a matter. She did not know if she was unsure about the nightgown, or the idea of wanting to throw a sleepover, or both things. But she knew one thing. She knew that if her girlfriend wanted to organize a sleepover, or at the very least, remind the rest of the girls about it, so one of them could organize it, she would be there for her.
"Would you wear it, if I also wore something similar?" -Rose asked her. She liked to see Juleka in that kind of nightgown, and she did not mind wearing one wither.
"Maybe." -Juleka smiled. –"I think you would look cute in it." -she thought to herself.
"Then, next week, we'll go shopping and you'll help me get one that matches my personality. But first, we're going to ask the rest of the girls, if one of them wants to throw a sleepover. If not, we'll throw it ourselves." -Rose told her. –"My house's a little too small for everyone, but, maybe your mom can lend us the boathouse." -she suggested, knowing Juleka's mom would be okay, if the girls used her art studio for a sleepover. –"What do you say? Girls night and sleepover?"
It did not take long for Juleka to see that Rose was trying to lift her spirits, and she was happy she was trying to cheer her up. One of the good things about having such a wonderful girlfriend like Rose, was that she knew just what to do and what to tell her, to make her feel better. Just thinking about it, she wished they were not talking to each other, through a camera, but face to face, so she could kiss her.
"Deal." -Juleka giggled. –"But if we end up doing this on my mom's art studio, I'm counting on you to convince my brother to not tag along." -she said. –"I don't' want him near us, this time."
"You make it sound like your brother's a bad influence or a perv." -Rose joked.
"Well, I didn't mean to." -Juleka said. –"You know that I think he's one of the sweetest guys in the world. It's just that I don't need someone guarding me, as if I was a little girl. Plus, if he has the chance, he'll try his luck and see if one of the girls falls for his charm and good looks." -she chuckled.
"That will be hard. Alya's head over heels for Nino. Marinette only has eyes for Adrien, I'm off limits, because your girlfriend, and Mylene, well, I don't have to say that she only has eyes for a certain big guy." -Rose giggled. –"Which leaves Chloe, Sabrina and Alix." -she said. –"I don't know about Chloe or Sabrina, but Alix's in love with Kim, even if she doesn't want to admit it, so there's no way she'll ever fall for your brother's charms."
"It's not that I wouldn't want my brother to date one of our friends, but…"
"But it's weird, right?" -Rose giggled. –"Don't worry, if in the end, the rest of the girls agree to this, and we end up doing it at your mom's art studio, I'll help you come up with an excuse for him to not stay guard at us." -she giggled once more. –"Not that we need one. After all, we can pretty much take care of ourselves."
But Rose and Juleka were not the only couple, who decided to spend that night talking to one another. Marinette and Adrien also decided to do that. But because Adrien's computer cam broke, they were forced to talk through WhatsApp on the cell phone. Not that it mattered. Even if they could not see each other, they would still be able to hear each other. Still, thanks to that app, they could see and hear each other, and that was great. Lying on her bed, already in her pyjama, Marinette kept laughing of one of Adrien's jokes, who was also in his bed. For Adrien, Marinette's laugh was like a drug. It was addictive, and he just could not get enough of it. He could spend whole days lust listening to her laughter, without ever getting tired of it, while she could spend whole days, just listening to his voice, which she deemed, the handsomest in the world.
"I really wish I was there with you." -Adrien said.
"And I wish I was there with you… look at us, being all sappy about one another. Didn't we agree that there would be no sappiness between us?" -Marinette chuckled.
"I think we did… but it's hard not to be a little sappy, when I'm talking to you. It's like trying to convince me you're not the prettiest girl in the world. It's hopeless." -Adrien joked. –"Still, I could ask a certain kwami to lend me his powers, and I could pay you a visit." -he suggested.
"There's no need for that. We'll just have to wait until tomorrow to see each other again." -Marinette told him.
"Okay. I guess I can wait until tomorrow to be with you again, but only if you talk to me a little bit longer. Plagg's already asleep, and I'm not in the mood to go to sleep already." -Adrien confessed, trying to convince Marinette to talk to him for a little longer.
"You don't even need to ask that. Of course, I'll stay awake and talk to you for a little longer, you silly kitty." -Marinette declared. –"What do you want to talk about?"
"Anything… I just want to hear your voice, milady." -Adrien told her.
And that was what they did. Without a defined subject, they began to talk about the first thing that came to their mind, and went on with it. One minute, they were talking about some movie or series they both liked or disliked, the other they were talking about a completely different subject, like school or even their battles against Hawk Moth. Ever since they had begun dating, Marinette and Adrien re-learned to talk to one another. While in the past they talked about things as friends, they now talked about those very same things through a different perspective. The perspective of two people who were dating each other. It was like they were getting to know each other, for the first time. And that was both thrilling and fascinating to them. And the best part, was that they did not need to be afraid of hiding anything from one another.
"You're kidding, right? You've been reading fanfiction of us?" -Marinette asked Adrien.
"If by us, you mean, ladybug and Chat Noir, yeah, I have. And for the record, some of them are very good." -Adrien chuckled. –"I think it's funny that in some of them they come up with names for our civilian identities, while in others, they just remain a mystery. Don't tell me you don't read one or two, from time to time?" -he asked her.
"I do, from time to time. But I try not to do it often, because people tend to come up with fictional backgrounds for the two of us, as well as the rest of the team, and it's hard to read them, knowing that all of them, or at least 90% of them are wrong." -Marinette told him.
"That's why they call it fanfiction. It's fiction, not reality." –Adrien told her. –"Besides, let them all come up with every bit of fictional reality they want to. I'll be happy with our reality, where I know who you are under the mask, and where I don't have to find out who you truly are, so I can kiss you, whenever I want to." -he said.
"You're such a sweet talker, you know that?" -Marinette asked, teasing him. –"Did you also read the mature ones with all the kinky details to them?" -she asked.
"From time to time, yes, and I'm not afraid to say it. After all, I'm a teenager. And you, did you read some as well?" -Adrien asked her.
"I may have read one or two…just because." -Marinette giggled. –"But you want to know one thing? When it comes to kinkiness, most of them are quite light on it, compared to what I have in store for us, when we decide to be a little more intimate." -she declared with a mischievous and sexy voice.
"Marinette Dupain-Cheng… I didn't know you were this mischievous, and with such a kinky mind." -Adrien told her, playing along.
"Just proves that you still have a lot to find about me, Adrien Agreste." -Marinette laughed. –"Bur seriously, you're right. People can write whatever they want about Ladybug and Chat Noir, and their relationship. I'll be happy having the real deal just for me." -she said, now with her normal voice.
They went on talking, with Marinette pointing out that they were both lucky they were not born earlier, stating that when their parents were their age, staying on the phone for hours would cost a fortune. This led to another subject, which was how each other's parents ended up dating. That subject alone took half an hour, where they each told how their parents met, how long they dated, when and where they got married, among other things.
"Changing the subject, I want to tell you that I'm really proud of you, Marinette." -Adrien told her. –"And I'm not just talking about the present you made for Alya, or the whole Jagged Stone business. I'm also talking about what you did for Chloe." -he said.
"Thanks, Adrien." -Marinette thanked him. –"But like I told you, it was nothing. And I want to believe that if Chloe was in my shoes and I on hers, she would have done the same." -she declared.
"I like to think so too. She has changed a lot over these last couple of months, and I am happy to say that each day it goes by, I see more of that Chloe that I first met, when we were kids." -Adrien said. –"If it wasn't for all this miraculous business, I don't know if she would have changed. Still, I'm glad to have my oldest friend back, just as I remembered her." -he admitted.
"Well, I'm also glad that she changed. I'm glad that my former bully has become one of my best friends." -Marinette declared, as she looked at the time on her alarm clock. –"Dang it… it's getting late. It's hard to believe that we've been talking on the phone for more than two hours." -she sighed.
"Time sure flies, when we're having fun." -Adrien joked. –"I guess it's already pass our bedtime." -he sighed. He did not want that conversation to end, but he knew that if they did not go to sleep, the next day they would fall asleep in class, and that was not an option, if they did not want to have problems in school.
"Unfortunately, it is. But before we got to bed, I wanted to show you something. Let me see if I can send it to you." -Marinette told him, as she sent him a file.
Once we got the file, Adrien opened it and saw what Marinette had send him. The file contained photos of the sketches she came up with, while trying to design the face-paint for Jagged. Other than Tikki and Jagged himself, Adrien was the first one to see them, and just like it happened with the previous two, he too was astounded by his girlfriend's talent.
"Tikki suggested that perhaps we could all wear them as face-paints at the concert. Six of us would have to wear the official ones, while the others wear some of the sketches I came up with, while trying to figure out the perfect face-paint for Jagged." -Marinette said. –"She says it would also be a nice way to promote my work, while greeting the band, like the die-hard fans do… she read it online." -she added.
"Never thought Tikki would be someone who enjoyed surfing online. Always thought she would be someone, who would spend her time reading books. You know, a regular bookworm." -Adrien said. –"Plagg himself spends his time playing videogames, while trying to beat my high-scores." -he admitted. –"But regarding that idea of hers, I like it, and I think the rest of gang would also like it. These might be just sketches, but they are good ones. You should be proud of them all… and personally, I wouldn't mind wearing this one with the diamonds."
It did not take long for Adrien to convince Marinette to tell the others about this idea. As she talked about it, he could listen to the uncertainty and the hesitation of presenting it to their friends, and in his mind, he believed the idea was too good for her not to share it, even if the idea came from Tikki and not Marinette.
"I bet the others are going to love it. Although, if I were you, I would pick the one you want to wear Saturday, right now, before anyone chooses it." -Adrien said.
"I don't really know which one to wear. I don't know if I should wear one of the official ones, or one that I designed." -Marinette admitted.
"Will you allow me to choose for you, milady?" -Adrien asked her.
"Yes. Yes. I will, kitty." -Marinette answered him.
"Then, I think you should go with one of the official ones. You would kill it with the Starchild one." -Adrien said. –"And if you're going to ask me why, simple, because you're a star, and you deserve that people know that, even if you need to have it drawn on your face." -he told her. –"Plus, I haven't had the chance to see you wearing red lipstick, which should make you look even cuter and sexier than you usually are."
"I'll never get tired of those cheesy sentences of yours." -Marinette told him, while letting out a chuckle. –"Okay, I'll wear that one." –she said. –"Now, let's see if Alya, Nino and the others go for it, as well."
"They will, trust me." -Adrien said.
"How can you have so much faith in it?" -Marinette asked him.
"Because someone has to. Besides, what kind of a boyfriend would I be, if I wasn't always there for you and your adorable ideas?" -Adrien asked her with a kind voice, which made her smile.
"Thanks, Adrien." -Marinette thanked him. –"By the way, I completely forgot to ask you this. Have you talked to Nathalie, regarding the concert?" -she asked Adrien, hoping that if had, that her answer had been positive.
"I talked to her, the moment I got home. And she's cool with it. As long as I text her during the concert to say everything is alright, and I come home, right after the end of it, o our first I can go. Plus, she won't tell my dad about it." -Adrien answered her.
"Then that means, we'll finally get to go to our first rock concert as a couple." -Marinette said.
"Indeed. Let's just hope we don't get interrupted by an Akuma attack." -Adrien said.
"Bite your tongue, kitty cat." -Marinette playfully warned him. –"If you say those things, you'll risk jinxing it for us all." -she smiled at him.