• Published 10th Jul 2021
  • 934 Views, 29 Comments

Marking - SugarHoneyIceTea123



Smolder wears lipstick. Gallus fears for his life.

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Chapter 2

Today was not a lipstick day.

And Gallus couldn’t decide if he was relieved or disappointed.

This time around, Smolder apparently decided to accentuate herself with a pair of golden bangles loosely hanging off her wrists.

Gallus wasn’t entirely sure where she got the bangles but chances were they were one of many presents and gifts their friends got for her in a spur of the moment feeling of kindness and generosity. Even Gallus was guilty of gifting Smolder a few innocuous trinkets here or there, knowing full well that she appreciated any new additions to her wardrobe.

This time, Gallus was not staring at the golden bands, clinking gently against her wrists every time she moved her arms. Both because, unlike lipstick, bracelets were a common enough jewelry among griffons (the few who could actually afford jewelry, at least), and also because he was justifiably worried over what Smolder might do if she caught him leering again.

For her part, Smolder apparently had no memory of the event last night that stuck with Gallus all throughout a restless sleep. That, or it just didn’t even register to Smolder as something even worth bringing up.

That alone should have told Gallus everything he needed to know. The kiss was just a bit of fun between friends. A chance to make Gallus look silly with a smudge of lipstick on his face.

For Grover’s sake, Gallus thought, it wasn’t as if his other friends couldn’t be surprisingly affectionate with each other while still keeping things platonic. Welcome to Ponyville, Gallus! He couldn’t even count the amount of hugs, hand-holding, cuddles, and other displays of softness he and his friends shared with each other with no talk of romance or dating even being considered. They were just… that comfortable with each other.

So of course Smolder felt comfortable enough to give Gallus a totally platonic kiss on the cheek all in the name of a good laugh at smearing her lipstick on him.

Which means Gallus could totally be comfortable in enjoying a totally platonic kiss from his good buddy, Smolder.

Why, he could probably go for another of those totally platonic kisses! That’s just how comfortable Gallus was with the totally platonic affection he and Smolder shared!

As long as she puts on lipstick first.

Gallus screwed his eyes shut as his mind tried to purge whatever insubordinate part of his psyche thought that.

Apparently, Gallus wasn’t exactly being subtle with his inner turmoil as he felt a gentle nudge against his arm.

“Hey, Gallus? Are you okay?” Ocellus asked, obvious concern in her iridescent, blue eyes. “You seem kind of out of it?”

Gallus gave a noncommittal shrug as he poked at his slightly-above-average-school-food with his fork. “Yeah, I’m good, Cell. Just… bit of a restless sleep last night.”

“Got a lot on your mind, bird-boy?” Smolder teased, her smirk letting Gallus know that she knew exactly what kept him awake. “Hey, I know a way we can all de-stress. It’s been a while since we’ve had one of our little ‘private get-togethers’...”

“Ooh, great idea!” Silverstream exclaimed, seemingly more eager at the chance to dress up than even Smolder. True, they all went along with these secret tea parties for Smolder’s sake, but they all still enjoyed doing it in their own ways.

Even Gallus didn’t mind dusting off a fancy top hat and dinner jacket he kept around just for these occasions.

They weren’t exactly lucrative, being students, so these secret tea-parties were pretty much their only chance at feeling high-society every now and then. While helping Smolder come to terms with her self-image issues was certainly the catalyst for these tea parties, it was hardly the only reason they did them anymore.

“I can tackle getting some snack cakes and pastries from Sugar Cube Corner.” Sandbar offered, falling into the group’s comfortable routine of delegating prep work for the tea party.

“King Thorax actually sent me some new tea brews from the Hive. This would be a perfect chance to try some of them out!” Ocellus gushed, excited at the prospect of sharing some of her culture with the group.

“Sounds like a plan, the rest of you just bring yourselves and be sure to look the part.” Smolder said, turning her attention to Gallus. “Maybe this’ll help you unwind, Gal?”

Not wanting to rise to her bait, Gallus just gave a smile and said “Wouldn’t miss it.”
---
Oh, right, Gallus thought as he walked through the door into Smolder and Ocellus’ dorm-room, his top hat slightly askew from him stopping dead in his tracks.

Smolder wore lipstick as part of her ensemble.

Smolder, of course, had multiple outfits for these events that she kept in rotation. Some of them elegant, some conservative, some just straight up the poofiest, frilliest tapestries of fabric and lace you would ever lay eyes on.

This time around, she kept it relatively simple with a white, floral patterned blouse and knee-length, navy blue skirt. As always, her accessory game was on point with a conservative set of pearls draped around her neck.

And, as Gallus noticed the second he walked through the door, she had an even coating of bubblegum-pink lipstick on her lips.

Gallus found he actually preferred the red lipstick from last night. The crimson contrasted much more sharply against the orange scales of her mouth and the flash of red in her smile invited just the tiniest hint of danger.

Shaking his head to get those incredibly intrusive thoughts out of his mind, Gallus couldn’t help but wonder where in Tartarus that had come from? He never really made it a habit of critiquing Smolder’s make-up style before.

Still, he had to admit, the pink lipstick did lower his guard that he didn’t even realize he was still holding up from last night. It was certainly a much more cute, innocent choice.

He wondered how the pink might look on the blue feathers of his cheek?

Dang it, enough! Gallus practically screamed into his own mind. He was here to have a nice, relaxing time sipping tea and trading stories with his friends. This was going to be a perfectly friendly, perfectly platonic evening, and that’s that!!

“Uh, Gallus? You’re kinda holding up the door, man.” He heard Sandbar say behind him.

Of course Sandbar was behind him, they walked here together from their own dorm-room. Giving a sheepish apology, Gallus stepped aside and let Sandbar enter the room, a plate of crumb cake and mini-strudels perched on his back with the balance that only a millennia of not having opposable thumbs can give a creature.

“Hey boys, party’s just starting.” Smolder said, acknowledging their arrival. Indeed, Gallus and Sandbar appeared to have arrived just a few moments early as Ocellus was still in the process of brewing a couple pots of tea in the assorted arrangements of electrically powered hot-plates they used for these events. Gallus assumed each teapot was filled with the ominously unknown Changeling brews hitherto untasted outside of the hive.

“You just make yourself comfortable there, handsome~” Smolder said, and Gallus wasn’t sure if she was talking to himself or Sandbar. They both did look rather smart in their outfits, Sandbar going for a more urban-formal look with a vest and slate-grey, wool flat cap. Sandbar apparently took the invitation, though, as he deposited the pastries for the evening on Ocellus’ worktable and took his seat at the table the two dorm residents set aside for their friends.

Gallus finally managed to get his brain to send a signal to his feet to move him over to the table, taking his usual spot next to Sandbar.

And that’s when it happened.

Smolder, who Gallus was sure was fully aware of how uncomfortable he was right now, got the same smirk on her face that she had last night before pouncing on Gallus and leaving her mark.

With half-lidded eyes, Smolder made an over-the-top display of sashaying over to the table, looking for all to see like a high-society lady type.

“We’ll be right with you gentlemen as soon as we get this tea done.” She said, placing the tips of her claws up to her mouth before blowing the two of them a kiss, her pink lipstick making her puckered lips even more pronounced as she gave an audible ‘Mwah!’

Gallus swore he could actually see a little cartoon pair of pink lips fly out of her hand and go straight towards him. He knew it was only his overactive imagination, but it still took a lot of his willpower not to physically dodge the flying kiss.

As Smolder turned on her heel to help Ocellus prep the mystery tea, Sandbar leaned over to Gallus with a way too innocent smile on his face.

“Boy, she really likes playing the part, doesn’t she?” He said, not picking up at all on his roommate's inner turmoil.
---
The tea party continued on as it usually did. Eventually, Silverstream and Yona joined the festivities, Silverstream’s near royal ensemble giving some of Smolder’s more extravagant outfits a run for their money. Gallus silently wondered if the two had a bit of an unspoken rivalry of trying to one-up each other.

Beyond that, it was about as textbook as their tea parties usually got. The discussions they had during these parties wouldn’t be out of place if they were to have them in the cafeteria or library or any of their other usual hang-out spots. This just had the added fun of dressing up and enjoying some sweet treats and competently freshly-brewed tea.

On that note, concerning these supposed brand new teas from the Changeling hive, Gallus had to admit they weren’t his favorite. The flavor wasn’t bad, but they had a bit of an earthy aftertaste.

Eventually, evening gave way to night and the gang knew it was time to retire. Gallus ended up getting roped into helping with the clean-up while Sandbar went on ahead to their room without him. Something he would be more suspicious of if it wasn’t Ocellus who asked him to stay behind.

Eventually, with everything put away and Smolder even freeing herself from the trappings of her clothes, modesty being a non-issue for a society where clothes were optional at best, Gallus was ready to call it a night himself. The good conversation, good food, and not-at-all-bad-but-not-as-good-as-usual tea actually helped to distract him from all thoughts of Smolder and her painted lips.

He might actually get a decent night of sleep tonight.

Before Gallus could cross the threshold of Smolder and Ocellus’ dorm-room, he heard a voice call out behind him.

“Hey, wait up.” Smolder said, locking Gallus in place.

Gallus turned back and saw Smolder looking perfectly innocent, no trace of a wicked thought in her head. If anything, she looked downright chipper after yet another successful tea party with her friends.

She was still wearing her pink lipstick.

Glancing around, Gallus realized that Ocellus had absconded into their shared bathroom, no doubt washing up for the night. Meaning she wasn’t here to run interference on… whatever might happen.

“So, did this help at all?” Smolder asked. Again, Gallus couldn’t sense any ulterior motive in the question.

“Help?” Gallus repeated, not sure where she was going.

“You said you were restless last night.” Smolder said, her smile dropping ever-so-slightly with concern. “Did this, all of us hanging out together, help you with whatever was buggin’ you?”

Gallus deflated a little but, secretly, he was relieved. He really was just making a mountain out of a molehill. Here he was, mentally tearing himself apart over a silly little kiss, and here was Smolder worried about his feelings. She obviously didn’t think much about the kiss, since she apparently didn’t piece together that she was the cause of the stress that kept Gallus up last night.

So what right did he have to pay that kiss any more mind than she did?

“Yeah, this actually helped a lot.” Gallus said, giving an apologetic smile for making Smolder worry. “Thanks, Smolder.”

“No prob, happy to help. You have a good night, G.” Smolder said, walking Gallus out the door.

“You too.” Gallus said, happy to put this whole business of kisses and lipstick behind him.

Then Smolder grabbed his head, puckered her lips, and planted a big smooch on his cheek. Once more giving a very audible ‘Mwah!’

“Night Gallus.” Smolder said, apparently not even realizing what she had just done as she left a paralyzed Gallus standing right outside as she closed the door.

As Gallus shambled, zombie-like, back to his dorm-room, he didn't even need to check the mirror for the pink mark he knew was on his cheek.

The stares and giggles of his schoolmates gave him all the confirmation he needed.