For the third time in as many minutes, Elena de Stael found herself checking for imperfections in her reflection, staring back at her from the taxi window. Was her hair, perhaps, just a little too formal? Was her dress, perhaps, just a little too fancy? Was her makeup, perhaps, just a little too plain?
“Stop it,” Pavetta’s voice stole her attention away from the glass.
“I was just people watching, my dear,” Elena lied.
“Bullshit,” Pavetta’s hands rested on the fullness of her pregnant belly, her stunning green eyes pitching Elena with her most I-take-no-shit glare. After a moment though, her face softened, “you look fine, El.”
“Yes, well, that’s easy for you to say,” Elena snapped. She couldn’t help it. Pavetta had been trying to get her to stop stressing over this high school reunion for weeks now, but Pavetta simply couldn’t understand. She was going to this reunion with a child on the way, and a loving husband on her arm, one who would be arriving late because he was busy working to save lives as a fireman.
Elena, meanwhile, was nowhere close to having her life together. Oh, she was wealthy enough, but the money came from the same source it had in High School: her father’s estate. Ten years since they’d graduated, and what did she have to show for it? No partner, no stable job, nothing. A pitiful art Instagram account, and a room full of used awful canvas’s.
She’d done plenty of stalking over the past few days too. Her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter had been put to good use in tracking down the classmates who were most likely to be there, the ones she would most likely need to impress.
Everyone seemed successful, everyone seemed happy. Not that she wasn’t happy, per sae, she was just no closer to getting her life together at thirty than she had been at eighteen.
“You’ve no one to impress there but yourself,” Pavetta spoke simply, using her uncanny knack of mindreading. “You’re only stressing because your high school sweetheart got famous and seems about set to elope with his best friend.”
“Jaskier was not my high school sweetheart,” Elena all but growled. Oh, he’d been her first, yes, and somewhere in the boxes in her attic, she might even still have the love poems he’d written her. But they’d been more…high school on-and-off-again-friends-with-benefits-sometimes-lovers than they’d been sweethearts. Perhaps everyone had known of Pankratz and de Stael drama, but she’d never had any plans of marrying the idiotic boy.
“Yes, yes, I remember,” Pavetta rolled her eyes, “point being, if you’re not worried about what he thinks, then you shouldn’t be worried about what anyone else does either. You’re never going to see them again after tonight anyway.”
“I hate it when you’re reasonable,” Elena grumbled, sinking further into her seat, “why did I stay friends with you again?”
Pavetta laughed, reaching into her pocket to find the cash to pay the driver. Elena hadn’t even realised the car was slowing. Well, fuck.
With a great amount of effort, she straightened her posture and pushed herself from the car, plastering on dazzling smile to hide her far less dazzling thoughts.
The venue was – predictably – owned by one of Jaskier’s friends. (He never could resist meddling in everything – including their reunion apparently). She’d done her research like she said: Vandenberg Bar that had gained quite a bit of attention in various scenes over the past few years. ‘Magical’ the reviews called it.
Still, it was just a pub, plenty of people huddling under the porch with cigarettes. A banner outside that looked rather patchwork (they couldn’t have hired someone with a smidge of artistic talent?) read ‘Class of 2010!’. She followed at Pavetta inside, trying to get her shoulders to relax.
Someone seemed to have hijacked the sound system, the music blasting out some awful pop song from back in the day. Elena rolled her eyes, taking in the rest of the room; purple décor, a few cosy looking booths along the back wall, a large bar. Set up on tables were people with their old yearbooks, activities, and what looked awfully like a ballot of some kind. God, they were going to have stupid prizes, weren’t they? Elena groaned internally.
“Hey! Look who it is,” a sudden arm around her shoulder, “we wondered if you’d show.”
Pavetta smiled at her assailant, but Elena carefully shrugged off his arm, “Lambert, you haven’t changed at all.”
“And you, my dear, are as dashing as the day you slapped Jaskier at the prom,” oh lords, that was the last thing she needed reminding of, “And Pavetta! Oh, you look about ready to burst. Who’s the lucky fellow, hm?”
“I think I need a drink,” Elena mumbled. She certainly didn’t plan on getting through this sober.
“Leave them alone, Lambert, they’ve only just walked through the door. You promised Yen you wouldn’t break anything – you keep on tackling people in her bar she’ll have your balls,” some guy Elena didn’t recognise stepped forward, a hand on Lambert's arm. Elena studied him as surreptitiously as she could, trying to place him without seeming too obvious about it.
“Oh, sorry, my manners.” The new-guy grinned, and, Elena had to admit it was charming, “I’m Aiden. I didn’t go to your school, unfortunately, because it sounds like it would have been a blast.”
“He used to be my boyfriend.” Lambert offered.
Elena raised a polite eyebrow, wondering why anyone would invite their ex to a reunion.
“Stop telling people that, you’re not funny,” Aiden slipped an arm around Lambert’s waist, “we’re married. I’m his husband.”
“Oh, excuse me ladies, looks like Renfri just arrived. Time to go pounce on her too—”
“Oh, for fucks sake, Lambert,” Aiden shot an exasperated look to both Pavetta and Elena before following his husband who appeared to be greeting everyone in rather the same manner he’d greeted Elena and Pavetta.
“Well, he certainly hasn’t changed, has he?” Pavetta laughed, “Same sense of humour and everything. Right prick. In a good way. Of course, if Renfri is anything like I remember her, she might stab him if he jumps on her.”
“Hmm, drink, now.” Elena tugged on Pavetta’s arm, walking them towards the bar which was – thankfully – not too crowded.
“I think it’s unfair you’re dragging me to the bar when you know I can’t indulge in any of this stuff,” Pavetta complained, patting her belly.
“I think it’s unfair you dragged me here.” Elena countered, waving down one of the bartenders so she could get a glass of wine stat.
“You wanted to come, El. You were the one stalking everyone on social media before we left the house.”
“That was a self-defence mechanism. I can’t believe you didn’t stalk people.” Elena thanked the bartender and sipped at her wine, moving to find a seat somewhere away from the activity tables and the impromptu dance floor a few people were already filling up.
To be fair, she probably was making a big deal out of nothing much in particular. It did seem like a sort-of chill evening. A few hours, a few polite ‘catch-ups’ where she’d carefully avoided too many questions about her own life, and she’d be out of here in no time.
“So, have you seen him yet?” Pavetta asked.
Elena raised an eyebrow, though she had a feeling she knew who Pavetta was talking about. Pavetta might look all charming and innocent on the outside, but she was the biggest fan of drama that Elena had ever met. It would be tiring if it wasn’t endearing.
“Jaskier. Come on, I know you want to catch up with him.”
“He’s probably making out with Geralt in a cupboard somewhere.”
Pavetta’s eyebrows raised, “Geralt? He’s with Geralt? You didn’t tell me that.”
Geralt was Jaskier’s best friend. He had been for years although Elena had been there when Geralt moved into their school as the new kid, she knew quite well it was more Jaskier’s instance than Geralt’s that they had remained close. Jaskier had simply…refused to leave the new kid alone. Honestly, in the beginning, there had been a few bets going around the classes over how long it would take Geralt to deck the kid.
Which was why it had been rather surprising when Geralt had settled into Jaskier’s friendship. They’d become near inseparable, which meant that Elena had spent plenty of time with the brooding silent fellow too in her last year.
And Jaskier’s Instagram? It was full of the guy. Pictures of Jaskier hugging him from behind, one of Jaskier kissing his cheek. It didn’t surprise her, really.
Elena shrugged again, “from what I could gather.”
“Wow. You’d never suspect those two, would you? I mean, you’d never suspect them as friends, let alone anything else.” Pavetta leaned back in her chair, “Although maybe Geralt’s changed by now, caught up with Jaskier a bit on the extrovert side.”
“Nah. I think Jaskier liked having someone who wouldn’t interrupt him when he rambled on,” Elena and Jaskier had often gotten into spats because they both liked to be the centre of attention – or had back then anyway – and they both liked to talk too much.
“Hey, look, speak of the devil,” Pavetta pointed a figure towards the make-do dance floor, not bothering to hide the action. Honestly, Pavetta was lucky she had the face of an angel. Nobody was going to accuse those pretty green eyes of being rude.
Elena obligingly tracked her gaze to where Paveta was pointing. The frankly horrendously dressed man who was holding two glasses of beer which were in dire danger of spilling as he practically jumped on the balls of his feet was recognisable even from a glance. Jaskier’s fashion sense seemed just as ridiculous as it once had been, sporting a mostly unbuttoned hideous dress shirt and bright pink skinny jeans.
In spite of herself, Elena felt a small burst of fondness alight in her chest. It wasn’t as if she had missed him overly much, she’d gone years without thinking about her high school on-and-off-again-friends-with-benefits-sometimes-lover. Still, it brought back memories – fond memories – to see him still unable to stand still on a dance floor.
His eyes were flickering about the room, even as his lips moved, clearly in mid-sentence. She was rather proud, actually, of the way that his mouth shut when they locked eyes.
She took a deep breath. Well, she wasn’t getting out of this evening without at least a little interaction with Jaskier. Jaskier would likely want to interact with everyone, that was just the way he was. She raised her wine glass towards him in acknowledgement, pleased when a dazzling grin spread across Jaskier’s face.
Jaskier leaned in and hugged whoever he was talking to, a bit awkward with the drinks in his hand, before flitting off towards Elena’s table.
“De Stael! My dearest, first muse, why, you’re as beautiful as ever,” despite the early hour, Jaskier was clearly already a bit tipsy as he swooped himself into a small bow, the drinks in his hands spilling a little though he didn’t seem to notice. He took her hand and kissed her knuckles gently in greeting, “Oh! And Pavetta, my dear, I heard you were pregnant,” Jaskier turned, offering the same bow and kiss to Pavetta.
“Hello, Jaskier,” Elena found herself smiling, “it’s been a while.”
“Indeed! I should have kept in touch – gods, there are so many people here I should have kept in touch with. But you know what it’s like, after High School there was college and then me and Geralt went travelling for a few years and we met Yen – have you met Yen, yet? She’s really something else – anyway, we only really just settled back down. And with my career kicking off, we’ll probably be on the road again shortly,” Jaskier’s words tripped over one another, like they always had, racing to be the first ones out of his mouth.
Elena rolled her eyes, “Remember to breathe, Jaskier.”
Jaskier placed a hand to his chest, mock offended, “why! I was simply trying to catch up. Can’t blame a guy for being excited to see his high school sweetheart, can you?”
Internally, Elena groaned. Pavetta shot her the smuggest look she’d ever seen that woman wear.
“Jaskier, are you planning on getting to me with that drink before you spill it all?” A low voice interrupted.
“Oh! Geralt,” Jaskier grinned, handing over a less-than-full glass, “look! It’s Elena! I was just about to tell her about our travels to Europe and--”
“How are you, Elena?” Elena was grateful Geralt cut in before Jaskier could get going again.
Elena shrugged, “Not bad, really,” which was about as much of an answer as she wanted to give at the moment. “Excited to be a Godmother, mostly,” she directed the attention towards Pavetta.
“Hey! Remember when Geralt helped you sort out the prom decorations, Pavetta? And you said you’d pay him back with your firstborn?” Jaskier wiggled his eyebrows, clapped Geralt on the shoulder, “you ready to be a Dad, old man?”
“Fuck off,” Geralt muttered, which Jaskier responded to by kissing his cheek.
It was actually kind of cute, in a disgusting sort of way.
“I’m going to go and check on Yen,” Geralt muttered. He didn’t look exactly thrilled to be here either, but if Elena remembered correctly Geralt had never done well in crowds.
“Alright, my dear,” Jaskier waved him off, eyes following Geralt towards the bar.
“Elena said you were in a relationship,” Pavetta grinned, a teasing tone to her voice.
Elena wanted to slap her. Maybe she had stalked everyone here, but she didn’t want anyone to know that.
“What? Oh! Yes,” and was…Jaskier flushing? Lord above, he must really be gone on Geralt. “I am. Actually, do you want to know a secret?”
“You could never keep a secret, Jaskier,” Elena smirked at him.
“Hey! I’m keeping it from the person who matters!” Jaskier sat down next to them, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a small ring box. “I’ve been carrying this around for like…three months trying to find the perfect time.”
The ring, when Jaskier opened the box, was beautiful, although admittedly not quite what Elena would have picked out for Geralt. A beautiful diamond, with purple amethysts bracketing it. Fancy. Tasteful. Expensive. Still, she supposed Jaskier knew his soon to be fiancé better than Elena did. Elena hadn’t spoken to either of them in ten years, after all.
“Oh wow, it’s gorgeous,” Pavetta said, “are you excited?”
Jaskier nodded, “oh yeah. I mean. Gods, I might get my balls cut off for daring to ask but, well. I think I’ve picked out the right ring for it, and I want to be married, you know? I just…I never wanted it before. But I’ve met the one.” Jaskier had a faraway look in his eyes for a moment, before shaking his head and pocketing the ring. “So, yeah. I mean. I’m happy.”
People really did change, Elena thought. She never would have expected Jaskier to be the type to settle down, but now he was talking with such a dreamy look on his face…she could almost believe him. That he wanted nothing more than to walk down the aisle.
“Anyway, sorry, enough about me. Elena, I saw your art account on Instagram. You realise your stuff is amazing, right?”
It was Elena’s turn to flush a little, a slight shrug to her shoulders, “s’just a hobby.”
“Ha! Looks about as much of a hobby to you as music is to me.”
“Everyone!” a sudden noise came over the loudspeakers, “we’re doing karaoke in five minutes!”
“And that is my cue, ladies. I am going to wow everyone here, trust me,” Jaskier winked, and then he was flitting off again.
“Wow,” Elena leaned back, “Jaskier getting married.”
“Hmm, he seems really happy too.”
“Yeah,” Elena nodded. She was happy for him. He deserved as much joy as life seemed fit to give him. Still, a tiny part of her felt that envious, self-conscious streak rise up. Jaskier was getting married. Everyone was growing up. Yet somehow, she felt just as clueless about the direction she wanted her life to go as she had been at eighteen.
“I told you your art was good, Elena.” Pavetta drew her out of her thoughts.
“Oh, shut up,” Elena muttered, but there was that same flush and grin on her cheek regardless.
Three glasses of wine later, and Elena was feeling suitably tipsy, enough that she was no longer wanting the evening to be over quite so fast.
It wasn’t so bad, catching up with people. Nobody asked much about what was going on in her life, although sometimes Jaskier would swing by and start talking up her art which was both sweet and embarrassing and so utterly in character it was almost like it had been a few days since they’d properly hung out instead of years.
It also became apparent, about an hour into the evening, that Jaskier had been flashing that ring at a lot of people.
“You hear? Jaskier is going to propose?”
“I think that’s so sweet, him and Geralt going from friends to lovers like that.”
“I bet the wedding ceremony will be so over the top Geralt won’t even want to show up.”
“And it was really cute how he dedicated that song he sang a minute ago to his ‘dearheart’”
“Geralt’s a lucky guy”
“Do you think Geralt will wear a ring like that? Maybe he’d do it just to make Jaskier smile.”
It seemed to be the most talked-about gossip at the reunion, which wasn’t surprising. Everyone loved Jaskier; he was That Kid. Always had time for everyone, hadn’t failed to recall a single name this evening. He was popular, and approachable and charming. Of course ever one wanted to chat about him.
Duny arrived, a little while later, and Pavetta had her time to show off her husband. Elena left her to it, heading to the bar to grab another drink.
“Is this seat taken?” Someone asked from her right. She glanced over to see someone she vaguely recognised, curled hair falling across her shoulders and kindness to her dark eyes.
“Oh, no, of course not,” she gestured, politely. “Um…”
“We sat near each other In maths, but I generally stayed away from those sorts of subjects,” the woman offered, “I’m Triss.”
It wasn’t the first person Elena had been unable to place that evening, but the same awkward flush arose to her face anyway. “Elena de Stael.”
“Oh, I know,” Triss sat herself down, “I’m friends with Yennefer, which means I’m friends with Jaskier. He spoke quite a lot about you in the lead up to tonight. His first muse.”
Elena was glad that that was where Triss knew her from, and that she wasn’t neglecting school memories of the woman. She’d spoken to a boy earlier who had informed her they sat next to each other for three years in chemistry, and she couldn’t even recall meeting him once.
“I’ll buy you a drink?” Triss offered.
“Thanks,” Elena didn’t really need another wine, but one more couldn’t hurt. She’d just make sure she sipped it slowly.
“So…you finding this fun?” Triss asked once they had their drinks.
“Not so bad. Thought it would be worse,” Elena shrugged, “Geralt is the star of the evening, it seems.”
Triss tilted her head, “Geralt? I’m pretty sure he’s the person who would least want to be the star of anything. He’s counting the minutes until Jaskier lets him off the hook and he can head home.”
Elena raised her eyebrow, “Got him on a tight leash?”
“Jaskier has everyone on a tight leash, just by smiling at them. Except maybe Yennefer.” Elena wondered if the mysterious owner of the bar was going to show up at any point, with how often she’d been mentioned. People seemed really struck by her.
“Hmm. Well. I’m happy for him and Geralt. They’re a good couple.”
Triss blinked, “um, what?”
“You know. Geralt and Jaskier.” She waved her hand, “Jaskier’s been flashing that ring all night. Surely you know he’s going to propose?”
Triss’s expression shifted minutely, before a small knowing grin appeared, “right,” she said, slowly.
“Did you not know?”
“No, no, I—” Triss was laughing now, and distractedly Elena noted that it was one of the most beautiful sounds she’d ever heard. “No, I know about Jaskier’s proposal plans.”
Elena narrowed her eyes, “you know something.”
“Can I have everyone’s attention!” Jaskier’s voice spoke over the microphone. His words were only slightly slurred, which was impressive considering she hadn’t seen the guy without a drink in his hands all night, “Gods, thank you to everyone for coming. It’s been so lovely to catch up with everyone. But, yeah, anyway, I’ve been asked to do the announcements for the winners of our voting category. So, without further ado!” he hiccuped, which caused a laugh to run through the crowd, “Yeah, yeah, it’s not my fault so many people have bought me drinks tonight. Thank you, by the way. Anyway, um—categories, right!”
There were plenty of them:
Person who’s forgotten everyone’s name
Person who still looks like their yearbook photo
Person who is unrecognisable via their yearbook photo
Elena hadn’t bothered to vote, but she was happy to sit back and watch the laughter and the prizes, which seemed to be getting more and more ridiculous as time passed. There was an uproar of laughter when one person had won a four-pack of cheese strings, an apologetic shrug even by Jaskier as he solemnly handed over the winnings.
“And finally! For best couple, we have…” Jaskier opened the envelope ever so slowly, building suspense. Which was a load of bullshit, really, because Elena didn’t have to wait to find out. Nobody here did. There was only one couple who had been the talk of the party.
Elena waited for him to blush, or smile, or jump up and down. Which was why it was odd when Jaskier frowned as he unfolded the piece of paper, tilting his head to one side. Next to her, Elena heard Triss snort into her drink, though she couldn’t for the life of her figure out what was so funny.
“What? Did he not win? Is he pissed at that?” Jaskier was competitive, sure, but this whole thing had been just a little bit silly. Besides, why wouldn’t he win?
“Um,” Jaskier blinked, glancing out at the sea of faces, “how many of you thought me and Geralt were a couple?”
The hands of every single person in the room flew into the air, playing along to Jaskier’s obvious joke.
“Oh my god, Yennefer, put your hand down,” Jaskier spoke, but the shock that had been there moments ago was beginning to be replaced with the first signs of merry laughter. Elena found her eyes searching for this ‘Yennefer’ he was talking to, but the room was full and there were plenty of people with their hands in the air, “We’re not a couple guys.”
Not a couple? Geralt and Jaskier weren’t a couple? What the hell was Jaskier playing at? Elena didn’t get it. Unless they’d broken up just before Jaskier got on stage, there was no way that they weren’t a couple. Jaskier had told her they were when he showed off the ring.
“Come on!” Someone shouted, “you’ve been hanging off his arm all night. You told us you were going to propose to him.”
Jaskier’s face went white. Eskel, Lambert, Aiden and even Geralt were laughing openly now from where they were sat a booth in the corner. “I, um, no, I never—nothing about proposing—”
“You showed us the purple ring!” Pavetta piped up, head lent on Dunny’s shoulder. She was sat close to the stage after Dunny had won ‘hottest partner’, “it’s beautiful.”
Jaskier ran a hand over his face, looking increasingly distressed, “yeah, but it wasn’t, I mean, I wasn’t, it wasn’t for—”
“You were going to propose to me?” There was suddenly a woman right next to Jaskier on the makeshift stage they were standing on. The first thought Elena had when she looked at her, was that she was the most beautiful woman in the room, in a completely terrifying, gothic way. Long, dark hair, purple eyes, a fierceness to the way she carried herself. The second thought Elena had, was that this woman looked the polar opposite of Jaskier in about a thousand more ways than Geralt had ever looked. Which was quite the feat. The third was that she was looking at Jaskier with a fond exasperation that couldn’t be faked.
“Well,” Jaskier swallowed, looking far too drunk to manage this, particularly with the audience he’d created for himself. “Uh….yes? I mean, shit, I have a speech and everything, this doesn’t count.”
“Give me the ring, you idiot,” the woman – Yennefer – held out her hand.
Jaskier looked so shocked, he actually jumped back a little bit, “What! No. No ring for you. Not like this. Besides, apparently, it’s me and Geralt who are getting married, not me and you. Geralt, do you want a ring?”
Geralt grunted, clearly unhappy with the number of eyes turning to him, “it’s not my style.”
Well, at least Elena had been right about that. With everyone else in the room, she felt thrown out of the loop entirely. But…she supposed all Jaskier had said, if she thought hard about it, was that he was in a relationship. Elena had been the one who assumed that he meant Geralt.
Could he really be…not with Geralt? With this stunningly beautiful woman instead?
“Give her the ring, Jask!” Aiden shouted, “come on. Propose! Propose! Propose!”
And – as if they were all still teenagers, and not adults nearing their thirties – the room took up the chant.
Even Elena found herself joining in. Now the room had recovered from the shock of finding out they’d been oh so wrong, it was rather cute, to see Jaskier all flustered in front of his girlfriend. His face was as red as all those fancy jackets he used to wear in school.
After a minute, Jaskier awkwardly got down on one knee, pulling the box out of his trousers, “Yennefer, dearheart, it would be my absolute pleasure if you would do me the honour of becoming my wife. Since me and Geralt met you, I’ve been scared and enamoured by you in equal measures, and I don’t plan on ever stopping. You’re radiant and stunning and—”
“Just get to it already!” Renfri cried, to the laughter of everyone in the room.
“Right. Yes, well. Um. Will you marry me, Yen?”
Yennefer hesitated for a moment, glancing between the ring to Jaskier, “well, if you stop your supposedly torrid affair with our dear Geralt, I suppose I can marry you.” She smirked, holding out her hand so that Jaskier could put on the ring.
Elena’s ears hurt from the cheering.
Well, she didn’t see that one coming in her internet stalking.
“You could have given me a warning,” she muttered to Triss who was still sat next to her.
Triss just grinned and ordered them both another drink.
“So you’re really not together?” Elena asked when everything had calmed down.
She’d somehow found herself as one of the last people to leave. She hadn’t meant to stay so long – it was well past midnight – but she’d started talking to Triss properly once the novelty of everyone’s false assumptions had worn off, and she’d found herself unwilling to stop. She’d barely noticed how long they’d been sat here until she looked up and realised the bar was almost empty.
And now, she was sat in a pretty-much-empty bar: Geralt, Lambert and Aiden were drinking in one corner, Jaskier and Yennefer were murmuring in each other's ears near the bar, Jaskier all but in her lap, Pavetta and Duny were chatting to Eskel…it was a rather tame, soft ending to a rather eventful night.
Now it was just them, the small groups had edged together, so they were all sat close enough to talk. This facilitated Elena’s question quite nicely.
“Nope,” Jaskier popped the ‘p’.
“I’m aroace,” Geralt shrugged, “and even if I wasn’t, I don’t think I could put up with him.”
“Hey!” Jaskier sounded indignant, though the effect was sort of ruined by how boneless he’d gone in Yennefer’s hold as she ran her fingers through his hair.
“So you’re just…”
“Close friends,” Jaskier replied, “nothing wrong with a little bit of affection, is there? I mean, he lives with me and Yennefer, he’s our best friend, I don’t see anything wrong with showering Geralt with some love, or anyone for that matter,” Jaskier felt himself flush, “I didn’t realise everyone was going to assume we were together though.”
“Only you, Jaskier, wouldn’t realise that everyone assumes you’re together” Lambert rolled his eyes.
“I thought you were together, when we met,” Yennefer pointed out, “you were so…sappy,” she wrinkled her nose.
“Aw, babe, you love it when I’m sappy.”
“I love that I’m not the only one who has to bear the burden of your affections,” she countered, but there was fondness in her eyes.
“Hey! You wouldn’t know what to do without me, you’re going to be my wife.” Jaskier pulled her close, searching for a kiss.
“Get a room,” Elena shouted, as Lambert gave a wolf whistle.
“We should meet up more, you know,” Jaskier sighed when he’d finally pulled back, “I’ve missed you, Elena. And Pavetta. And Duny, of course, you’re just, one of my new favourite people.”
“You’re still drunk, Jaskier,” Duny pointed out.
“Hmm. Not the point. You can still be my favourite. Also, Pavetta promised her child to Geralt, and we all know that if Geralt gets a child, I’ll end up doing like…sixty percent of the work.”
“And I’ll do the other forty,” Yennefer finished.
Geralt grunted at them, though he appeared far more relaxed now the room had cleared out.
Elena had come to this reunion wanting to get it over with, and there was still the sick sinking feeling in her stomach that she wasn’t half as accomplished as the people she’d seen tonight. But this part? She could see this becoming a regular thing, if she let it.
“Anyway, we should get off,” Pavetta sighed, standing, “I’ll go ring us a taxi.”
“I’ll have a cigarette, while we’re waiting for it.” Elena reached for her purse.
“I’ll join you,” Triss’s smile was warm, and Elena felt a giddiness at it that wasn’t just brought on by the alcohol.
“I’d like that,” she murmured, “I’d like that a lot.”
If Pavetta had to come looking for her when the cab arrived, because she’d snuck down the side alley to make out with Triss senseless…well…it had been ages since Elena had had a good snog. She was pretty sure Pavetta could forgive her.
“You look fine, stop stressing.”
“I’m not stressing. Nobody is going to be looking at me. Yennefer is a bride. She’s going to be even more eye-catching than normal.”
“I’ll be looking at you,” Triss countered.
Elena felt her smile grow. She couldn’t help it. In the past eight months, she’d gained a girlfriend, a beautiful goddaughter, rekindled her friendship with Jaskier, and at the prompting of her new group of friends, had actually started to sell her art.
“Have you got the wedding gift, hun?” Triss asked.
“Yep, it’s in the boot.”
“Yennefer is going to find it so funny.”
Elena hoped so.
And indeed, when Yennefer unwrapped it after the ceremony, she burst into laughter at the carefully painted picture of Jaskier, blush on his cheeks, stood on a stage awkwardly with a ring unsure what to do.
In the corner of the frame, a tiny heading titled the painting: and the winner of best couple goes to…