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Second Chances

Chapter 10

Loki deemed everything in the first store unsuitable before leading her to the second boutique. He pulled out a full length green dress and showed it to her, but she wrinkled her nose.
'Is there something wrong with this?' He asked.
'A couple of things.' She took the hanger from him. 'I don't really like strapless, plus,' she held it up against herself and looked down at the material pooling on the floor, 'we need the petite section.'
'That may limit our selection somewhat.' He frowned as she hung the dress back on the rail which was above her head height. 'But I think you would look splendid in something strapless.'
'If we get strapless Stark gets to buy me new underwear too.'
Loki's jaw ticked at the thought and she noticed it. He didn't like that idea.
'Very well. Nothing strapless.'
He led the way through the store until they found a more height suitable selection. Together they chose a few dresses, Loki even gave in and offered different colours, much to her surprise. They were just looking at another dress when an assistant approached.
'Can I help you?' Loki turned, revealing Maia in front of him and they came face to face with the haughty blonde from the coffee house. The look on her face as she recognised them was priceless. 'Oh.' She said simply.
'How was your coffee?' Maia asked politely.
'I'll get someone else to help you.' She took a step back.
'But you were in such a rush to get to your important position.' Loki pointed out and Maia bit her lip to stop from laughing. 'And that position is to serve us.' He held the dresses out with a small smile and the woman sighed resignedly, obviously embarrassed, before stepping forward, taking the hangers and draping the dresses over her arm. 'Very good. My companion and I require outfits that compliment one another for an extremely high profile event. Dress, shoes, suit, shirt, all the accessories, and we have no time for adjustments so they must be perfect. Be a dear and make my lovely lady even more stunning than she already is, if you possibly can.'
'Yessir.' She said and rushed off with the dresses in her arms.
Loki leant down until his lips were beside Maia's ear. 'You have to admit, that was quite satisfying.'
'Very.' She nodded. The motion made Loki's lips brush against her ear and her breath caught.
Loki closed his eyes and savoured the feel of such sensitive skin on his lips as he had a moment where his hard won control was almost lost to him, but then he took a long, slow breath and straightened, but not before putting his arm around her to rest on her waist. 'Let us go see what our charge has found.' Maia could only nod, her mouth dry, and he guided her in the direction the reluctant assistant had gone in.
Within half an hour Maia found herself in a changing room trying on dresses as Loki did the same with suits a few doors down. They had their outfits in a particular order so they could come out and check how they matched.
Maia's first dress was a champagne colour with a full skirt that fell to just past her knees and a layer of lace that covered everything from her collarbone to her wrists and the hem of the dress. The shoes were strappy and a little higher than she would have chosen but she could manage. She peeped out of the curtain and saw the assistant patiently waiting for them.
'Could you please zip me up?' She asked quietly and the woman hurried towards her with a smile. None of them had mentioned the earlier incident again and they all seemed happy to carry on that way. Once she was zipped the assistant opened the curtain fully for her to step up to the three sided mirror just as Loki emerged from his own cubicle, adjusting his cuffs.
The champagne shirt, while nice, didn't seem to compliment him like the darker colours did, but he still looked great with the three piece black suit. He stopped in his progress when he saw Maia in the lace dress. She looked so very different, very lovely in fact, and with the shoes her legs were quite enticing, but he wanted a different look for her, something far more sophisticated, although he would perhaps suggest she buy this one too, and he would create one of this realms dates for them, perhaps the theatre, but, all the same... 'No.' Loki said simply and turned back to the changing room.
Maia looked down at herself, then to the assistant who shrugged. She hadn't thought she looked that bad. With a small sigh she let the assistant unzip her again and went to try on the next.
The second was royal blue with wide gathered straps and a "V" neck, belted with a sash before dropping in an "A" line to the floor, but not enough that it would hamper her walking. The shoes were plain blue but could hardly be seen so it didn't matter. She and Loki stepped out of the curtains at the same time and he looked her over again.
'Perhaps.' He said, before retreating into his changing room again.
'I think it's nice.' The assistant offered before Maia went back again.
The last two dresses were green; a deep one and a light one. The pale one reminded her of pistachio ice cream and she didn't like that idea, luckily the dark green was first and she hoped Loki finally thought her passable. She slipped the green chiffon on, arranging the loose slashed sleeves on her upper arms and the silver jewel encrusted shoulder straps that matched the trim around the waist. She was able to zip up the side herself and she put on the sling back green shoes with the small bow on the front. You could just see the toes of the shoes as the front of the dress was raised, the back spreading behind her in a soft wave of jade. She really hoped Loki thought she looked okay this time, she liked it but so far he didn't seem to think she looked good in anything. He was probably more used to seeing tall, beautiful Asgardian women, whereas she was definitely short. Maybe she was too short to pull off such a long, elegant dress. She threw back the curtain and gave the assistant a defeated look.
'If that's not the one he's blind, but maybe,' she pointed to her own head, 'take your hair down.'
'Really?' Maia looked at her reflection before reaching up and releasing her ponytail, rubbing her fingers into her roots to ease the sensations left behind. It did seem to finish it of, the red hair a contrast against the green, and made her look less pale.
'Looks good.' The assistant said, turning to the sound of Loki's curtain opening.
She stepped aside and Maia steeled herself for another disappointed comment from Loki, walking out of the cubicle until she found Loki gazing at her expectantly. The green shirt with the black suit and tie really suited him, and she shifted as his gaze trailed over her from her feet up, until he reached her face and unbound hair.
They just stared at one another for several moments, Maia shifted, pulling at the material as she spoke. 'I know, I'm not...'
'You look exquisite.' Loki interrupted whatever she was about to say.
'Really?' She said uncertainly.
'Absolutely stunning.' He came towards her and the assistant excused herself. He offered her his arm and led her to the three sided mirror so they could both see how they looked together. 'We shall make quite an impression tomorrow night.'
'Is that what we're trying to do?' She asked as he coaxed her to turn while holding his hand so he could see all the way around.
'Of sorts. Your first meeting with the rest of the team you should leave them with an everlasting impression.'
'They'll get that just from seeing me try and dance.' She joked.
'You do not dance?' He asked, stepping closer to her and raising the hand that still held hers, the other finding her waist.
'Assuming you don't mean alone in my room whilst cleaning, no, I don't really get the opportunity.'
'I shall have to give you a pointer.'
'I'll need more than one.’ She laughed.
'No, just the one.' His hand slipped around her lower back and pulled her flush against him. 'Simply give yourself over to me.'
The motion, the words and how low his voice had gone had the laugh fade on her lips as she flushed. She made a small; 'Oh.' sound and Loki smiled at her.
'Perhaps when we return to the tower.' He suggested, but still didn't release her, not yet.
Maia wasn't sure how to answer with Loki so close so she just nodded. What was it about him that literally made her lose the capacity for speech?
'Take this outfit, and the first one.' He said as he slowly began swaying to the music coming softly through the ceiling set speakers.
'I thought you didn't like me in it.' She replied quietly, letting him lead her completely.
'Oh no, you were quite beautiful, however it was not what I had in mind for the party. It shall be suitable for our date to the theatre though, I think.'
‘Date?' The word fell out of her mouth in surprise.
'If you will accept, of course.' He raised his hand and twirled her before pulling her back into his arms.
'Like a date date?' She wasn't sure if he had the concept of what a date was, given they were literally from different worlds, and if he did she didn't quite understand it, let alone believe it.
'I am unsure of the relevance of the word being repeated. What I am asking is if you would permit me to spend some time with you socially, affording us the opportunity to get to know one another on an intimate and romantic basis?’
Okay, he did mean date date. 'To the theatre?'
'As a first date.'
'Is that a yes?' He gave her a raised eyebrow.
'Yes, it's a yes, please. I mean, thank you. Yes.' She stumbled over the words.
'There is however one proviso.'
'You men and your provisos. What is it?' She frowned.
'Indeed. You allow me to charge this shopping to my expense account, that way you are not beholden to Stark.'
'No, I'm beholden to you instead.'
'I shall hold you to nothing you do not wish to be.' He dipped her suddenly easily supporting her as his face hovered just above hers. Time seemed to slow as he held her, as though neither one of them were sure what should happen next. Eventually Loki cleared his throat and lifted her back up again. 'We should change and pay.' He said, letting go of her slowly but raising her hand to brush a soft kiss on her knuckles.
'We should.'
He escorted her to her cubicle before leaving her for his own. Maia looked at her surprised reflection. She had a date. With Loki of Asgard. Holy shit.



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