Challenge/Extras: Gingerbread #28 ("The fairest of them all") + Fresh Strawberries (Maasai)
Word Count: 496
Story Arc: Planetarium Collective
Summary: There's such a thing as too many earrings.
A/N: Fresh Fruit for the Summer Olympics.
"Don't you think that's a bit too much?"
Venus strode into the living room, the overabundance of earrings dangling on the sides of her head. The way she was acting, it was like it was no big deal. Mercury had a few issues with it, though.
"Look at all of this," he said. He was careful not to pull hard on the rings; the last thing the both of them needed was a freak accident with jewelry. "Doesn't this hurt, cause man--this much must stretch the ear so much."
It had been, in fact, one too many earrings. Venus had picked out ten from her vast collection of earrings (one which spanned eras of fashion and culture) and had five hanging from each ear. One of her earrings had reached down to the level of her chin; it took the shape of a winding snake. This little experiment of her had been yet another product of watching too many documentaries on TV.
"It worked for some cultures," she reasoned. "And it doesn't hurt too bad, so what are you worried about?"
"Looking at it already worries me," said Mercury, his cautious gaze following the slow sway of one of the bronze rings for an earring. "And besides, what are you doing overdecorating yourself with all this? Who are you trying to impress?"
Venus threw an impatient stare at him. "Isn't it obvious? I did this for you!"
"Hey guys, how's it going?" Terrence then appeared from the dining room, carton of orange juice in hand, stopping to see Venus and all her adornments. He had forgotten to sip, and his teeth clamped upon the straw in complete surprise.
"Whoa, am I interrupting a moment here?" he said. Mercury and Venus looked at him with the same frown.
"Yes, you were," they said in unison. Terrence then turned on his heel and walked back into the kitchen without another word.
"Oh, Venus, you shouldn't have done all this to yourself," said Mercury, his voice softening to a whisper as he hesitated to make eye contact with her. Venus was just as reluctant to do so, if only out of embarrassment.
"But I thought you'd find me prettier in this," she said. "In certain cultures, this sort of thing--"
"I couldn't care less what culture this madness is from. You're already the prettiest one of them all without them."
Mercury went red. Venus looked at him, her face a few shades of red away from being just as red as he was.
"I mean, you don't need this," Mercury let one of the earrings roll in his fingers. "All of this just distract me away from what I really want."
Venus shuddered at Mercury's touch; he felt his way down the back of her head down to her shoulders.
"How's about I help you take those off?" he smiled at her. Venus then smiled back.
"I wouldn't have anyone else take them off but you, Mercury."