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“I’m so excited.”  As if the hop in Yang’s step didn’t announce that to everyone around, she rubbed her hands together before hurrying ahead to open the door.  “Aren’t you excited?”

“You’ve asked twice already,” Blake pointed out while walking into the restaurant, with Ruby not far behind her.  “Yes, we’re excited.”

“Yup…real excited.”

‘Excited’ was a bit of a stretch, but there were definitely some energetic feelings bouncing around Ruby’s veins right now.  She hoped no one else noticed them though...least of all Yang, who clapped a hand on her shoulder while looking around.

“Damn, this is a nice place.  You went all out.”

“I wanted you guys to have a good time.”  After mustering a nonchalant shrug, Ruby gestured towards the maître d’.  “I’ll let ‘em know we’re here.”

Most of us are here,” Yang corrected, forcing Ruby’s strained smile before she hurried over to the man standing at a podium separating the entryway from the bustling dining room.  

“Um...excuse me?”  

When Ruby added a small wave, the man finally looked up from the map in front of him and smiled.

“Good evening,” he replied on instinct.  “What can I help you with?”

“I made a reservation for seven o’clock -”

“Name?”

“Ruby Rose.”

“Ruby Rose…” he repeated to himself while scanning a list of names.  “Ah,” he said not long after, drawing an ‘x’ beside her name before grabbing menus from the stack beside him.  

“Your table’s already ready, Miss Rose.  If you’ll follow me.”  

When he motioned off to one side, Ruby waved Yang and Blake after her before following him into the large, opulent dining room.  Black-suited waiters and waitresses swept between linen-covered tables laden with candles and expensive dinnerware.  The golden decor was light and cheery yet posh at the same time.  

The ambiance suited the high price tag, but Ruby was willing to shell out the money for her sister and Blake.  They didn’t often eat at such upscale places, but tonight was...significant.  She would say ‘special,’ but ‘special’ usually implied something good, happy, or otherwise positive.  Maybe tonight could end up being special, but that seemed like one of the least likely options.

“Here we are.”

Near the center of the dining room, the maître d’ stopped at an unoccupied table and set menus in front of each seat.  Once everything was neatly arranged, he stepped back and clasped his hands together.

“Will the fourth member of your party be joining us tonight?”

Sensing Yang and Blake’s glances, Ruby chuckled.

“Yup!  Definitely.  She’ll be here any minute now.”

“Wonderful.  Enjoy your dinner.”

Before the three of them had even pulled out their chairs, he was rushing back to his post at the front of the restaurant.  Writing off his quick exit, Ruby took her seat on one side of the table while Yang and Blake sat across from her.

“I can’t believe it.”  Yang opened the menu in front of her only to flip it closed a second later.  “Can you believe it?” she added, nudging Blake’s elbow for support.  “We finally get to meet her.”

“It does seem rather surreal…” Blake admitted while unfolding her napkin and laying it across her lap.

If there was one person Ruby didn’t have to worry about, it was Blake.  Calm and collected under any circumstances, Blake wouldn’t cause a scene no matter what happened.  Yang, on the other hand...

“You promised to be nice,” Ruby reminded Yang, who waved off the comment.

“Of course I’ll be nice.  Why wouldn’t I be nice?”

“Because you’re overprotective.”

“Overprotective??”  Scoffing at the word, Yang once again turned to Blake for support.  “I’m not overprotective, am I?”

“Should I lie to make you feel better?”

Faced with that truth, and Ruby’s ‘I told you so’ look, Yang shook her head and waved her hands.

Maybe I’m a little protective of you, but you’re my sister!  Besides, it’s for a good reason - this is a big deal!”

“It’s not a big deal,” Ruby tried arguing, only to be met with Yang’s disbelieving look.

“Not a big deal?  Sorry, but when is my little sister dating someone not a big deal?  Besides, you dropped that bomb without any details -”

“And the mystery makes it a bigger deal,” Blake pointed out.

“The mystery totally makes it a bigger deal!”

“It doesn’t have to be!” Ruby replied, her tone carrying a hint of a whine.  “If you didn’t care so much, it wouldn’t be a big deal!”

“Oh, right.  Hold on while I care less about my sister’s happiness.”  After scrunching up her face for several seconds, Yang shook her head.  “Sorry, no can do.”

As much as that answer meant Yang played an active role in Ruby’s personal life, Ruby wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.  Well...sometimes she wished she could change it...but she would regret it if that wish ever came true.

“When will she be here?” Blake asked, changing the subject but increasing Ruby’s nerves in the process.

“Uh…”  After quickly checking the time, Ruby turned her phone over and flashed a smile.  “Any minute now.”  

Because Yang was so excited about tonight, they’d arrived early.  The extra few minutes meant extra time for Ruby to mentally prepare...or keep freaking out about the situation she’d gotten herself into.  As the seconds ticked away, panic kicked mental preparation to the curb.

“Should I introduce myself as Ruby’s sister or Ruby’s older sister?” Yang mused now, giving the question more consideration than it was worth.

“Why not ‘Blake’s girlfriend?’” Blake teased while gently poked Yang’s forehead, getting Yang to unfurrow her brow and laugh instead.

“You’re right - that’s way better.  Then you introduce yourself as Ruby’s sister.”

“But I’m not Ruby’s sister.”

“Not yet, you aren’t.”

While the two of them shared adoring, loving smiles at yet another instance of Yang hinting at their increasingly-likely future, Ruby glanced around the busy restaurant before abruptly standing up.  

“I’m going to go to the bathroom.”

“Woah, woah, woah!”  Breaking free of her Blake-induced daze, Yang held out an arm to stop Ruby before she got far.  “What if she gets here while you’re gone?”

“I won’t be gone that long.”  When Yang quirked a brow, Ruby sighed.  “It’ll only be a couple minutes.  I’ll be right back.”

“Alright…guess we don’t need you squirming more than you already are.”

Yang dropped her arm and chuckled at the observation, but Ruby managed only a nervous laugh before hurrying towards the restrooms at the back of the dining room.  The other diners appeared to be having a great time - talking and laughing and eating at the other tables as she passed.  She wished she was one of them.  Instead, it felt like a pit had opened in her stomach by the time she walked into the ladies’ room.

Like the rest of the restaurant, the restroom exuded a posh vibe.  Golden sink fixtures sparkled amidst black-and-white marble countertops.  Dark, wooden doors blocked off the bathroom stalls.  And, even fancier, classical music played softly in the background.  If Ruby could choose someplace to freak out, this was a pretty nice place to do it.

“Ok,” she said, looking at herself in the mirror while standing at one of the sinks.  “This is a bit of a mess, but it’s not so bad, right?”

Thinking of the situation as a whole, she scrunched up her nose and shook her head.

“Alright, it’s a big, huge mess, but you’ve dealt with bigger messes before!  You just need to think of a way to fix this.  You will fix this.”

“Fix what?”

Yelping at the unexpected voice, Ruby spun around and finally noticed the girl standing behind her, eyeing her curiously as the restroom door fell shut.  With long, snow-white hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and an impeccable outfit, the girl somehow made the posh restaurant bathroom look like it belonged at a fast food joint.

She was, hands down, one of the most effortlessly beautiful people Ruby had ever seen.  But she was also clearly waiting for an answer, so Ruby struggled to provide one.

“Oh, sorry.  I was just...talking to myself.”

“So I heard.”  With a near smirk on her lips, the girl walked over to one of the sinks and turned on the water.  “It sounded like you broke one of the faucets or something,” she added while washing her hands.

“I wish,” Ruby laughed, earning another curious look from the girl.  “I mean...I’d probably have to dig up some buried treasure to pay for one of these, but that doesn’t sound so bad right now.”

“Really?  What’d you do?”

The girl dried her hands before turning towards Ruby, clearly willing to hear this out.  It was then that Ruby realized how absurd it would sound to a stranger, so shook her head and smiled.

“It’s actually nothing -” she began, but stopped the lie as soon as the girl arched one perfect brow.  

“Ok, fine.”  

Before admitting anything out loud, she glanced around to make sure no one else was in the restroom with them.  Even then, she lowered her voice before explaining. 

“A few months ago, I might have told my sister I’m dating someone when I’m not.  And she might have kept bugging me about meeting them, so I might have brought her here.  To meet my fake girlfriend.  Who’s definitely not going to show up like I said she would.”

As expected, the truth was so ridiculous that the girl just stared.  Then a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, humor sparkled in her eyes, and a small laugh slipped through her lips.  Her obvious delight was so pure and beautiful, Ruby actually smiled at the abysmal situation.

“Well,” the girl said, failing to suppress that smile for long.  “I thought this only happened in movies.”

“That’s where everyone’s wrong,” Ruby pointed out.  “If you try hard enough - or, in my case, fail hard enough - life can be just as entertaining as a movie.”

“You’re oddly proud of this.”

“I wasn’t until it made you smile,” Ruby admitted, only to blush when the girl’s brow rose at the honesty.  “Besides!  If I can’t laugh about it, I can only wallow in self-pity.”

“I see...”  After mulling over the response, the girl gave Ruby a more thoughtful look.  “Why did you lie to her?”

“Besides the future TV deal?”  Ruby’s heart fluttered when the girl smiled again, but she shrugged and tried to answer seriously.  “I don’t know...I guess I didn’t want her to worry about me.  I’m not as outgoing as she is, so I don’t meet people or make friends as easily.  She kept offering to set me up, but I just...wanted to find someone on my own terms, I guess.”

“So you made up a girlfriend instead of asking her to back off?”

“In retrospect, not my brightest moment,” Ruby admitted, chuckling at her failure when she spotted another hint of a smile on the girl’s lips.  “It was also a little dumb of me to let her keep believing it.  I just kept thinking I’d find the perfect moment to say, ‘Oh, by the way, I made that whole thing up.’”

“Instead, you set up dinner at a fancy restaurant for her to meet your fake girlfriend for the first time?”

“Not just her,” Ruby added.  “Her girlfriend too.  It’s a double date with only one couple.”

Another smile threatened to appear on the girl’s lips, but she held that one at bay and offered a sympathetic nod instead.

“You can laugh,” Ruby said, already wanting to see that smile again.  “I know it’s a mess, and now I’ve hit the point of no return, I guess.  I hate lying to her, but I also don’t want her to be mad at me - that’s the only reason I’ve kept this up so long.”

Confronted by that dilemma, Ruby scrunched up her nose and shook her head.  She wished she could go back in time and never tell that stupid lie.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.  Instead, she was here, spilling her problems to a beautiful stranger in the ladies’ room.

“Well…” the girl replied, lightly tapping her fingers on the countertop before deciding how to respond.  “She’s your sister; she only wants what’s best for you.  If you explain why you felt you had to do this, I’m sure she’ll understand.”

“Yeah...you’re right.”  Ruby had come to that conclusion several times before but hearing it from an impartial third party gave it much more weight.  “I guess I just...feel like a loser sometimes,” she admitted.  “She and Blake are practically already married - I didn’t want her to think something was wrong with me.”  

“I doubt that’s the case.  I might’ve only known you for a couple minutes, but you seem like a...fine individual.  She probably just wants you to be happy like she is with Blake.”

“That’s a good point…” Ruby mused before giving that idea more thought.  

Maybe Yang wasn’t so concerned about Ruby’s personal life because she thought Ruby would end up alone.  Maybe she wanted Ruby to be happy like how she was with Blake...and thought that finding someone like Blake would accomplish that goal. 

“Ok, I’ll tell her.  She’ll give me the ‘poor Ruby’ face again, but I can deal with that.”  At peace with the decision, Ruby smiled at her unexpected helper.  “Thanks for talking.”

“You’re welcome.  It’s not often I can give relationship advice in the ladies’ room so...this has been interesting.”

“But you’re really good at it!” Ruby replied, grinning when the girl playfully rolled her eyes.  “Seriously, you should start a business or something.  Set up shop in here and charge by the visit.”

“I can’t tell if you’re serious or if this is another of your brilliant ideas.”

“I’m full of brilliant ideas.”  When the girl chuckled, Ruby beamed.  “I am!” she insisted.  “Ok, since you helped me, let me help you.  Give me a problem, and I’ll help you fix it.”

“Any problem?”

“Sure!  The bigger, the better.”

The girl scoffed in amusement before pursing her lips and giving Ruby a thoughtful look.  Eventually, she nodded.

“Alright, how about this - lately, it feels like my father’s living my life instead of me.  He’s overbearing, manipulative, and tries to make all my decisions.  It’s become...exhausting.”

“Sounds like you should get a new dad.”

The girl blinked at the suggestion - the first one that had popped into Ruby’s mind - then struggled not to laugh.

“‘Get a new dad?’”  

“Yeah!  You just...you know...pretend he doesn’t exist anymore, then find someone else to take his place.”  

Ruby had no idea what she was saying, but the girl was smiling and that was all that mattered.  

“I’m sure people do that all the time!” she added, doubling down on the absurdity.  “And by ‘all the time,’ I mean at least once or twice a year.”

When the girl started laughing this time, her blue eyes sparkling with joy, Ruby joined in.  

“You’re right,” the girl added through her laughter.  “You have brilliant ideas.  Maybe you should start an advice business in the bathroom too.”

“Only if you’ll be my business partner,” Ruby stipulated.  It was supposed to be a joke, but the girl gave it several seconds of thought before nodding.

“Deal.”

Ruby’s heart fluttered at the response, and she couldn’t help smiling in return.  A few minutes earlier, she’d felt miserable.  Now, she felt lighter than air.

Unfortunately, the opportunity to continue the ridiculous business plan disappeared when the bathroom door opened and two women walked inside.  The illusion of privacy evaporated with their presence - something Ruby felt just as much as she saw when the girl’s light-blue eyes flitted away.  Remembering where they were, and that she’d dallied longer than expected, Ruby shuffled her feet before motioning at the door.

“I guess I should go…” she said, though she regretted the words.  “Someone has to tell Yang I don’t have a girlfriend, and that someone’s probably me.”

“Right.”  The girl nodded but didn’t move as Ruby backed towards the door.  “I should probably go too.”

In the brief silence that followed, Ruby felt like she should say something - ask for a name, even.  But, considering this was just a chance encounter in the ladies’ room at a fancy restaurant, she didn’t want to ruin the memory by being weird about it.  Instead, she kept her eyes on the girl while reaching behind her and fumbling for the door handle.

“Thanks for the advice though,” she added.  “I feel a lot better now.”

“You’re welcome.  I do too.”

Ruby gave a slightly-baffled smile at that last part, unsure if it was a joke or not, but eventually settled on a wave before opening the door and leaving the restroom behind.  Before returning to the dining room, however, she paused and glanced at the door once last time.  Her heart was beating faster than normal now - a pleasant feeling that made her smile before heading back to the table.

Seeing Yang reminded her of what she had to do, but she wasn’t as worried about it as before.  She would explain why she lied and, hopefully, Yang understood.  If not, she would grovel - starting with an expensive dinner at a swanky restaurant.  Eventually, things would return to normal...because they were sisters, and they loved each other.  That was one thing Ruby had never questioned, so she shouldn’t start now.

“Took you long enough!” were the first words out of Yang’s mouth while Ruby sat down.  Fresh glasses of water on the table suggested their waiter had already come and gone - evidence of just how long Ruby had been away.

“Sorry, I got caught up chatting with someone.”  

Ruby motioned towards the restroom while glancing around the restaurant, but she didn’t spot the girl with white hair anywhere.  She already regretted not asking for a name or number or something, but...that was something Yang would do, not her.  Yang could meet a stranger and ask them out minutes later - exactly how she and Blake started dating - but Ruby just wasn’t wired that way.

“Blake and I already decided what we’re ordering,” Yang continued, her excitement showing through her need to keep talking.  “That way when she gets here, we won’t even worry about reading a menu - she gets our complete focus.”

“That’s...great?”

“I thought it was pretty smart,” Yang said, chuckling while Blake playfully shook her head.  “Is she running late or something?”

“Oh, um…”

A lie appeared at the tip of Ruby’s tongue when she glanced at her phone.  All she had to do was pretend she got a message canceling their plans, then apologize and promise to reschedule.  That was the easy solution, and she kind of wanted to take it, but she cleared her throat and met Yang’s gaze instead.

“Actually, I have to tell you something.”

“Sorry, I’m late.”  

Before Ruby admitted anything, she looked over and felt her eyes widen when the girl from the restroom pulled out the empty chair and sat down. 

“Work kept me longer than I thought,” she added, casually flipping her hair over one shoulder before smiling across the table.  “You must be Yang and Blake.  It’s so nice to meet you - I’m Weiss.”

Weiss extended her hand with the introduction, but everyone - Ruby included - just stared at her for several seconds before moving.

“Wow, uh, yeah!  Nice to meet you!” Yang finally got out before shaking Weiss’ hand.  “I’m Ruby’s Blake - I mean Ruby’s sister!  This is Blake.”

After shaking Blake’s hand, Weiss sat back and calmly unfolded her napkin.

“I’m glad we could finally schedule something,” she added, completely unaware - or aware but ignoring - the way Ruby was staring at her.  “I’ve heard so much about you.”

“Really?  Because Ruby’s told us like nothing about you.”

Yang’s response knocked Ruby out of her stupor, but she only managed to glance at her sister before turning right back to Weiss.  Weiss was a gorgeous name, fitting a gorgeous girl, but Ruby was even more enraptured by the effortless way Weiss absorbed Yang’s words and responded with a soft, regretful shake of the head.  

“I’m sorry...that’s my fault.  I asked her not to say anything.”  When Yang and Blake’s brows rose in unison, asking the question without actually asking the question, Weiss sighed and sent a remorseful glance Ruby’s way.  “You might’ve heard of my father - Jacques Schnee.”

“As in...the head of Schnee Industries?” Blake asked while Ruby’s eyes widened.  

“Yes, that’s him.”  The confirmation only increased Ruby’s surprise, but Weiss continued without hesitation.  “He’s not entirely...supportive...of me pursuing anything beyond work, so I figured that the less he knew, the better.  It wasn’t until recently that Ruby convinced me otherwise.”

Hearing her name slip through Weiss’ lips sent a tingle of excitement mixing with Ruby’s all-encompassing shock.  She never would have guessed Weiss was related to someone so widely vilified.  Now when Weiss was sweet, kind, funny, and...well, she had the same white hair as her dad.  And that explained the aura of money...

“We won’t tell anyone,” Blake assured Weiss while Ruby tried to wrap her mind around the situation.  “We don’t want to make anything more difficult for you - either of you.”

“Yeah, definitely,” Yang quickly added.  “We won’t say a word.”

“I appreciate that.”

When Weiss cast Ruby an expectant look, Ruby finally convinced her mouth to form words.

“See?” she got out, immediately followed by a chuckle.  “Told you - they’re like clams.  Poke ‘em once and they’ll keep to themselves.”

Weiss laughed and patted the top of Ruby’s hand as if silently congratulating her for the appropriately-foolish response, and Ruby’s heart sped up in turn.  If Yang and Blake weren’t sitting right there, she had a lot of questions to ask.  Like why was Weiss doing this for her?  Most importantly, was this really even happening?  Because it felt like it was happening, but things like this never happened to her.  

“It’s a complicated situation,” Weiss continued undisturbed.  “But the more I think about it, the more I think his opinion shouldn’t matter as much.  If he has an issue, then maybe I just need to get a new father.”

Weiss snuck a wink Ruby’s way, prompting an immediate blush, while Yang chuckled.

“Get a new father…that sounds like something Ruby’d say.”

“She has a way with words, doesn’t she?”  

Blush deepening at the friendly smile directed towards her, Ruby opened her mouth but couldn’t think of anything to say.  It felt like she should say something - a joke or witty comment, maybe - but she shut her mouth and shook her head instead.  If this was what it was like to be rendered speechless, it was as unnerving as it was exciting.

Fortunately, Yang and Blake were better talkers.  Especially now, as their combined level of interest was the highest Ruby had ever seen. 

“Now I get why Ruby always says you’re busy.”  The way Yang fiddled with her silverware suggested she had thousands of questions she was just dying to ask, but she held them back for Ruby’s sake.  “Thanks for making time to meet with us.”

“You’re welcome, and it was long overdue.  My work-life balance has become a little...unbalanced...recently, but I’m trying to fix that.”

“Aren’t you opening a new factory across the river?” Blake asked, and Weiss nodded.

“Among other projects, yes.”

“Jeez...how do you have time to date at all?”

“I don’t, really, but I make time whenever I can.” 

After briefly frowning at that thought, Weiss glanced at Ruby.  Her expression immediately lightened though, and Ruby couldn’t help but smile in return.

“And that’s fine,” Ruby added, feeling as if she had to reassure Weiss in some way.  “I’m low maintenance anyway!”

Weiss smiled at the response, her gaze drawing Ruby in while simultaneously releasing butterflies in her chest.  If Yang’s scoff hadn’t drawn Weiss’ gaze away, Ruby might’ve stayed lost in those blue eyes forever.

“Yeah, as long as someone’s feeding you, you’re low maintenance,” Yang teased, unaware of the moment she just ended.  “Has Weiss figured out how to make all your favorite meals yet?  I’m guessing so - that’s the only way she could’ve survived this long without losing a few fingers to your hunger.”

While Yang chuckled at the joke, with Blake smiling beside her, Ruby made a face at her sister before her focus returned to Weiss.  Weiss’ gaze was thoughtful again, as if taking a moment to catalog that new information.  Once that was done, another smile appeared.

“Not yet,” she answered, her eyes remaining on Ruby rather than returning across the table.  “But I will eventually.”

Ruby wanted to say that Weiss never had to cook for her, or do anything for her, but her heart fluttered instead.  If she’d known who Weiss was, she probably wouldn’t have said half the things she did in the restroom; she definitely wouldn’t have admitted the lame lie she told her sister.  But, surprisingly, she regretted nothing.  That somehow led her here, and she was pretty ecstatic to be here.

“God, they’re so cute.”

Surprised by Yang’s comment, Ruby instantly blushed and turned away at the same time Weiss did.  Of course, what had Ruby expected from her sister, who was as effusive with her affection as she was with her teases?  Besides, Yang had no idea Ruby and Weiss just met in the ladies’ room a few minutes ago - she was responding as if Weiss was the elusive girlfriend Ruby made up months ago.

Still, Ruby was thoroughly embarrassed now.  Sneaking a glance Weiss’ way only amplified that feeling, as the soft pink on Weiss’ cheeks suggested the comment struck a nerve through the perfect composure.

“Yang…” she tried as a subtle warning.  Yang raised her hands, confused about how that was out of line, but Blake gently patted her arm and offered Weiss an apologetic smile.

“Please excuse her.  She’s been looking forward to meeting you ever since Ruby told us she started dating someone.”

“I can understand the feeling,” Weiss replied, the blush gone and her composure restored.  “I’d feel the same if my sister started seeing someone.”

“Oh, that’s right.  You have an older sister, right?”

Considering Ruby hadn’t known that, she turned back to Weiss for the answer.

“Yes, I do - her name is Winter.  I also have a younger brother, Whitley.”

“Ah, a middle child,” Yang joked while Ruby committed the names to memory.  “Too bad our parents didn’t have another kid - then Ruby’d be a middle child too!”

“But being the youngest is clearly the best,” Ruby pointed out.  “Everyone doted on me -”

“They still do,” Yang teased, laughing when Ruby stuck out her tongue.  The reaction garnered a soft laugh from Blake and a smile from Weiss - the smile again capturing Ruby’s complete attention.  Before she could ask anything, however, a buzzing sound interrupted the conversation.

“Of course…” Weiss sighed before reaching into her bag and pulling out her phone.  She read the message quickly, then lowered her phone and gave Ruby an apologetic smile.

“I’m so sorry...I have to go back to the office.  My father just scheduled a meeting, and apparently I have to be there.”

“Oh, that’s fine!  Don’t worry about it.”  

Considering Weiss probably hadn’t expected to be looped into this whole fiasco, Ruby had no issue with her ducking out early.  She’d already done way more than Ruby would expect from a stranger, especially a stranger of Weiss’ status.

“We should reschedule though,” Weiss said while gathering her belongings and standing.  “Hopefully work won’t always get in the way.”

“Yeah, definitely!”  Yang glanced at Blake, who nodded, before smiling at Weiss.  “Thanks for meeting with us though, really.”

“The pleasure’s all mine,” Weiss replied, her eyes sneaking Ruby’s way before a polite smile appeared.  “And dinner’s on me, so please order anything you’d like.”

While Yang and Blake’s eyes widened at the gesture, Ruby jumped to her feet before Weiss walked away.

“I’ll walk you out!” 

Smiling at the offer, Weiss waited for Ruby to reach her side before leading them through the dining room.

“I hope that was ok,” Weiss quietly directed Ruby’s way as they headed to the entryway.

“Are you kidding me?  That was more than ok!”

Relieved by the response, Weiss smiled before motioning for Ruby to wait.

“Excuse me,” she then directed to the maître d’, who immediately gave her his full attention.

“Yes, Miss Schnee?”

“Please put their dinner on my account,” she instructed him, lightly gesturing Ruby’s way.  “The final cost doesn’t matter.”

“Absolutely, Miss.”

“Thank you.”  

With that taken care of, Weiss turned back to Ruby and offered a smaller, more subdued smile.  It looked like she wanted to say something, but her gaze flitted back to the dining area first.  Ruby turned to follow the gaze and, upon spotting Yang and Blake pretending they weren’t watching, rolled her eyes and motioned Weiss to the door.

“After you,” Ruby added, playfully bowing Weiss through the doorway before following her outside.  

A slight chill had appeared in the air, but nothing too unbearable.  Ruby’s jitters made her bounce up and down far more than the cold did.

“Thank you so much,” she said as a sleek black town car stopped at the curb nearby.  “You really are good at fixing problems.”

A giggle slipped out after that statement, helped along by Weiss’ responding smile.

“You’re welcome.  It was the least I could do.”

“And perfect too!” Ruby added.  “Now Yang will leave me alone for a bit, and eventually I can come up with a reason why we’re not together anymore.  Which shouldn’t be hard since...you know…”

Ruby gestured between them rather than state the obvious, but Weiss frowned.

“You can do that...or we could reschedule.”

“...what?”

“I was actually called back to the office,” Weiss explained with a wave towards the town car.  “But I’d like to reschedule...if you’re agreeable to that.  I think we can be even more convincing next time.”

“I...what?  Seriously?  You want to do this again?”

“Of course.  But we should probably get together first and iron out the details of how we started ‘dating.’”  While Ruby stared, unable to believe what she was hearing, Weiss thought over the dilemma before meeting Ruby’s gaze.  “Where did you tell them we met?”

“The, uh, miniature golf course...”

“Why would I ever be at a miniature golf course?” Weiss asked, her tone incredulous but a smile sneaking onto her lips.  Before Ruby came up with a feasible response - charity event, maybe? - Weiss shook her head.  

“We can figure that out later.”  

With Ruby still struggling to catch up, Weiss pulled a pen out of her bag and, after searching for something else but not finding it, gently picked up Ruby’s hand.  

“Here’s my number,” she explained while writing the digits across Ruby’s palm.  “Text me, and we can set up a time.”

“Um, yeah!  I know how to text so...I can do that.”

Ruby could have smacked herself for the response, but didn’t bother when Weiss barely held a smile at bay.

“That’s a relief.  I was a little worried we’d have to resort to handwritten letters.”

The playful response made Ruby laugh and, just like earlier, wish their conversation wouldn’t end so soon.  It might have been her imagination, but Weiss didn’t seem willing to leave either.  Instead, they both stood there, smiling at each other a bit like fools, before Weiss’ gaze eventually flitted to the side.

“I should go…” she sighed, her posture slouching just as subtly as her words.  

“Don’t let me make you late,” Ruby quickly replied.  “Besides, I’ll text you.”

Reassured by the response, Weiss smiled before turning to leave.  Before stepping away, however, she turned right back, leaned forward, and kissed Ruby’s cheek.

“Thanks for the enjoyable evening,” she whispered after pulling away, lingering close enough that Ruby could see every perfectly-curled eyelash framing perfectly-blue eyes.

“Y-you’re welcome,” Ruby stammered, her heart pounding like crazy and her cheek burning where Weiss’ lips just touched.  

If Weiss felt any of that white-hot bolt of excitement, she did a better job of hiding it.  Instead, she simply smiled one last time before walking over to the curb and nodding to the chauffeur who jumped out to open her door.  Seconds later, the expensive car pulled away, leaving Ruby standing on the sidewalk, awkwardly waving even though she couldn’t see through the tinted windows.

Only when the car disappeared around the corner did she touch her cheek, then look at the numbers written across her palm.  Seeing as how her hands were already clammy, she saved the number in her phone before it smudged away to nothing.  Then she touched her cheek again, glanced the way Weiss’ car had just gone, and finally walked back into the restaurant.

In a daze, she returned to the table and sat down but said nothing.  She had no idea what to say, not even as Blake and Yang stared at her, clearing waiting for something.

“Um, wow, Ruby,” Yang eventually said.

“I know, right?”  Just thinking about Weiss, Ruby’s heart skipped a beat and a warm, excited feeling swept through her veins.  “She’s...incredible.”

“And it looks like she really likes you.”

Ruby’s gaze snapped to Blake at the comment, and she discovered that Blake was serious.

“You think so?” Ruby asked anyway, only for her heart to race faster when Blake smiled and nodded.  “That’s awesome…” she breathed out, her heart somersaulting at the mere possibility that Weiss might like her.  Yang, meanwhile, chuckled.

“Look at you!  You’re so into her.”

Ruby rolled her eyes at the observation but didn’t argue.  Her fingers returned to her cheek instead, gently touching the spot Weiss’ lips had been minutes earlier.

“Of course I am,” she replied, her smile widening while her heart thumped excitedly.  “That’s why I’m - that’s why she’s my -”

“That’s why you’re dating,” Blake offered on Ruby’s behalf.

Whether or not that was true, Ruby still beamed and nodded.  Yang and Blake then shared a look - silently communicating in that way they did - before smiling and turning their attention to ordering dinner.

Too distracted to think about food, Ruby half-listened to their conversation while glancing at her palm in her lap.  The lines of ink were already blurring, as she’d feared, but her heart still jumped just seeing the numbers written there.

She still had to come clean to Yang one day, but that would have to wait a little while longer.  First, they could enjoy a great meal together.  Then she would text Weiss as soon as she got home.  After that...she didn’t know what would happen, but she couldn’t wait to find out.

Honestly though, meeting a beautiful, funny girl in the ladies’ room and unintentionally convincing her to be Ruby’s pretend girlfriend was a better story than striking up a conversation with Weiss Schnee at a miniature golf course.  No one would ever believe it and, somehow, that made it even better.