As often happens in high school, two girls, just on the cusp of adulthood, have found easy friends in one another. The young ladies in question are Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli, two seniors who have been in the same, relatively static, group of friends since the beginning of their sophomore year. Their group is primarily composed of misfits, which makes Angie an outsider in the group, as her place as Vice President of the Drama Club and her appointment as this year's Homecoming Queen have secured for her a spot as a well-known figure in their school.
Angie is from a large, rather well-off, Italian Catholic family, and since she was very young has had a vibrant passion for acting, which has been supported throughout her life. Peggy, on the other hand, is a foster child with a dismal past, most tragically having lost her parents, with whom she'd immigrated to New York from Britain before the age of five, in a car crash when she was nine. She's found a home with an overbearingly maternal foster mother named Lila, and lives in a large house with Lila, her son Howard, and six other foster children - all eight regard each other siblings, whether they get along well or not. The sibling to whom Peggy has grown closest is Daniel, who is closest to her in age, is almost always bright in spirit, and relies on mobility aids, most often the use of a wheelchair, and with whom Angie has been friends since childhood.
Unafraid of conflict, both Peggy and Daniel are known to challenge bullies without thought to consequence, which, unfortunately, has been getting them in more and more trouble. Recently, this trouble appears to have taken the form of darkening crime. The previous year has been rife with unfortunate happenings, most notably the kidnappings of their friends Steve and Bucky, and the suspicious "suicide" of their friend Colleen. Unable to convince any relevant authorities of a bigger picture, their group of friends has taken it upon themselves to seek out the perpetrators of the crimes and bring them to justice.
Steve, Daniel and Peggy have been willing to brand their group as vigilantes, but the others have been more reticent to do so, acknowledging more forcefully that they are working to maintain their somewhat ordinary lives as high school seniors - even as they come to believe that the people who have already committed crimes against them (they hold that a crime against one of them is a crime against them all) are still holding out for other opportunities to strike them. The reason those criminals have targeted their group of "Young Avengers" is unknown, but none of the teenagers are willing to let go of Colleen's death, which they believe to be murder, without finding out what that reason is.
Our two heroines Angie and Peggy have just found themselves locked inside the walk-in freezer at the Automat, the restaurant at which Angie works after school. They were the only two in the restaurant, as it was Angie's turn to lock up, and Peggy routinely stays to help her do so. Recent interactions between the two, though, have been increasingly tense, and neither is particularly certain as to why, as both of them have been keeping secrets from each other that they do not feel they can tell.
Suffice to say, this is not how either girl had hoped or planned to be spending their Friday evening, but the proverb rings true: beggars can't be choosers.
Angie is pulling furiously on the door handle. Peggy is leaning against a shelf, watching her, annoyed.
“It’s not going to open, Angie.”
“I can try! Like, Donna Noble and shouting.”
“Firstly, this is nothing like Donna Noble trying to better the world. Secondly, you’ll only wear yourself out.”
“It’s just a lock! How hard can it be? Haven’t you picked locks before, English?”
“You know that I have, Angie. But there is a notable difference in circumstance. That being that we are currently on the inside of the locked room.”
Angie sighs, finally releasing the door handle.
“I swear, this is the beginning to every smutty fanfic ever.”
“Every single one?”
“You know what I mean.”
“Which is to say, not every single one.”
“You’re amused by this, aren’t you, English? We are locked, in a freezer, and you are laughing at me!”
“We are locked in a freezer and you’re talking about fanfiction!”
“Never a wrong time to talk about fanfiction.”
“If there were, wouldn’t being trapped in a walk-in freezer be one such time?”
“Oh, shut up. I’m trying to keep myself from becoming dramatic.”
“Yeah, right. Good luck with that! But hey, maybe someone will see us in the security camera.”
“Yeah, but not before tomorrow morning, when they show up to work and find two cute little babesicles in the walk-in!”
Peggy gasps, realizing her phone is in her pocket, and pulls it out excitedly.
"Wait, my- never mind, no wifi. Naturally.”
“It’s a freezer.”
“I was hopeful.”
“I could tell.”
“Daniel knows how to pick locks, too, you know. He could have come to get us.”
“Yes, if only we could reach our technologically-advanced Prince Charming.”
“Oh, come on. Have you met him? He is like, the world’s Prince Charming. With a hella rad wheelchair. He’s like, a superhero, except not totally unattainable.”
“You did not just refer to my brother as 'not totally unattainable.'”
“Damn, English, I didn’t mean it like that. I mean, he’s off-limits, definitely. But someone who has made me cookies to cope with a horrific test grade, okay? I’d be concerned if he wasn’t aware that I existed. Unlike, say, Batman, or Johnny Depp.”
“Batman is an asshole, and Johnny Depp is not a superhero.”
“Which is how I’m drawing the comparison to Daniel.”
“I’m shit with words. You know what I mean.”
“Considering he is my brother, yes, I do know what you mean.”
“Oh, God, she’s gonna kill us.”
“Lila is gonna flip a table over or some shit when you finally make it home. It’s already past closing.”
“Yes, well, I’m a little less worried about my foster mother than I am about our lives, Angie.”
Angie groans, very dramatically.
“You know, you could have just let me pace around here thinking only vaguely about the current possibility of death.”
“It’s really not all that vague. Even if we weren’t in here, it wouldn’t be vague, considering whomever is after us out there, but besides, I’m getting quite cold already.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“I would assume so, considering the, um, crop top and the miniskirt.”
“I’m also wearing an apron.”
“Yes, I see that. But I don’t imagine it’s helping much.”
“The one time you prove to have an imagination.”
Peggy scoffs, offended.
“Beg your pardon!”
Angie pretends not to notice that Peggy's responded.
“You know what I just realized, English?”
“No, despite all the skills I do possess, mind reading happens to be one of those I do not, so I don’t know what you’ve just realized. Although I do know you’ve just narrowly avoided the subject at hand.”
“We are literally trapped in a Coffee Shop AU.”
“Can it, English.”
“Apparently, with a side of murder.”
“Would you like whipped cream with that?”
“Oh, come on. You don’t even work in a proper coffee shop.”
[mimicking Peggy] “'You don’t even work in a proper coffee shop.' Jeez, English. Let me have a little fun.”
“But if this is the alternate universe, than what is the canonical universe?”
“How am I supposed to know?”
“Well…we’re literally trapped in a walk-in freezer so…perhaps we’re somewhere particularly warm right now.”
“Like on a boat. Maybe Howard actually has a boat and we’re all on his boat, sipping smoothies and actually getting tanned for once.”
[wistfully] “Wouldn’t that just be a dream?”
“Bet you’ll steal the show when you’re out there in a bikini.”
“Do I not steal the show already? Or are you actually starting to get bored of me?”
“I could never get bored of you, English. What? Are you bored of me?”
[teasingly] “Not a chance, sugar. I’m not that easy to get rid of.”
“Especially considering we’re currently locked in a freezer.”
“For a second there, I thought you were implying you actually enjoy my company.”
“I do enjoy your company, English!”
“I'm not sure you’ve ever called me by my name!”
“I don’t call anyone by their name! Well, Howard, but that’s just because he’s just...Howard. It fits. And Daniel, I’ve always called him Daniel. Except in Spanish class in middle school, when I called him Señor Hot Wheels.”
“Did he not tell you about that?”
“No, he didn’t, although I do imagine it would take a little while for him to fill me in on the years that I was elsewhere.”
“Yes, and we can’t afford to take away from our Scooby Gang time.”
“Is that honestly what you’re calling the lot of us?”
“Does it not sound slightly less freaky if we pretend we are somehow following in the paths of the heroines and heroes before us?”
“Not really, no. And I certainly hope we’re not dealing with the sorts of things that Buffy had to contend with.”
“At least then, we’d have a playbook to go from.”
[soberly] “One rule, Angie: nothing ever goes by the playbook. Nothing.”
“You know, I’m starting to pick up on that.”
“Not good enough.”
“Well, fuck you, too, English.”
[bitterly] “Now, which of however many ways did you plan for me to interpret that?”
“Does it matter? It isn’t going to go by the playbook anyway.”
“Ah, yes. That’s not passive-aggressive at all.”
Angie makes a wild, aimless gesture, turning away from and now refusing to look at Peggy.
[with building anger] “God, fuck all of this. Ugh!”
[decidedly blankly] “That sounds utterly exhausting.”
“Says the girl who stays up nearly every night chasing down criminals.”
“Not nearly every night.”
“Multiple times a week. Close enough for me.”
“Not that that says much.”
“English! What the hell has gotten into you recently? You’ve been bitter all week, and now this?”
[vindictively] "Well, whatever it is, it certainly wasn’t making bets with its friends as to how long it’d take.”
It takes a moment for Angie to piece together what Peggy is alluding to, and her chest tightens as soon as she does, acutely fearing the outcome of the conversation that she knows must be to come.
[reeling with shock] “Wait, what are you- oh, my God, you think - oh, no, no, absolutely not! Jack’s friends don’t even know we talk at all and - well, I thought my friends didn’t know either.”
“Yes, that’s rock solid evidence that nothing’s going on.”
“It’s 110% not what you think.”
“Somehow I doubt that.”
“And this is why you’ve - holy shit. Holy massive misunderstanding Batgirl. Oh, God. Oh, my God.”
“I think God’s heard you by now.”
“Yeah, well, he ain’t answering.”
Angie gathers herself as best she can, pushing herself to speak, hoping to assuage Peggy's anger.
[tentatively] “Okay, I know that on principle, we all hate the jocks. But…back when we had that romance and sexuality project in AP World, Jack and I ended up doing a lot of research together, since our topics sort of…overlapped.”
“Imagine that. Topics overlapping! Definitely a reasonable segue to meeting up in secluded corners and sharing lunches!”
“We...both did projects on same-gender couples, that’s why they overlapped. That’s why Mrs Rieger suggested that we…collaborate. Find common ground.”
Angie gulps, looking at the floor, closing her eyes, and bracing herself. Her emotions are charging through her, but she manages to speak calmly for another moment, though she begins to cry as she does.
“It’s entirely not what you think, English, because we’re gay. I - I’m gay.”
Peggy takes a moment to process, not sure she's able to respond at all.
[evenly, but with shock] “...Oh.”
Angie is overtaken by the rush of emotion within her, and sobs as she relates a maelstrom of thoughts to the still, silent Peggy.
“Okay, then! There it is! You happy now? That’s the big secret! Angie Martinelli, not just a leading lady but a big ol’ theatre queer! Extra! Extra! Read all the fuck about it! She goes home to her massive Italian family and gets asked if she’s met any nice Italian boys that she might marry and she can’t give a straight answer because she’s anything but straight! She sits in church and tries to tune out everything she hears about being a successful, happy, God-fearing girl because every fucking word reminds her that she’s doing everything all entirely wrong! She’s all wrong!”
“And I guess, Jack’s going through a lot of the same thing and - it just…helps to have someone who gets it. And no, I’m not necessarily happy that person turned out to be him, but he’s really not as bad as he seems, trust me, he’s mostly just scared, and he’d hate that I’ve told you any of this because his dad would actually hit him, and fuck, I shouldn’t have told you that either, but I just…I needed someone. Oh, God, English, you’re crying.”
[pained] “Did you really think you could not come to me?”
“You’re my…you’re my best friend! How exactly would you react to being told ‘hey, I know we hang out all the time but I’ve got to apologize because the totally ordinary lack of breathing space between best friends has resulted in me being majorly turned on around you pretty much all the time and it’s starting to piss me off!’?”
[with feigned easiness] “For all your lack of faith in me, I think I’d have reacted quite well, actually. I’d have been rather receptive, granted I wasn’t caught entirely off guard.”
“You’re kidding, English.”
“Since when do I kid, Angie?"
[softly] "Come here.”
Peggy reaches her hand across the aisle to wear Angie is standing. Although confused, Angie has been reassured enough by Peggy's acceptance that she takes Peggy's hand, unprepared for the way Peggy quickly steps forward, pulls Angie towards her, and gently kisses her. Angie spends a matter of seconds in pure surprise before responding eagerly.
“Did that - English, did you just…”
“Kiss you? Yes. Lila, though, says smooch, I could-"
[declaratively] “Don’t say smooch. Do not.”
“Shut up, English, or I’ll make you.”
“That a threat, or a promise?”
The door to the freezer opens unceremoniously. Peggy and Angie are kissing, but quickly break apart. Peggy spies her brother Daniel's wheelchair behind the door as it opens slowly, and greets him with gratitude.
“Daniel! Thank God! How did you - wait, are you grinning?”
[teasingly] “Someone put out a call for Prince Charming?”
Peggy and Angie both gasp, realizing that their containment truly had not been accidental.
“Oh. My. God. Daniel, this was on purpose!?”
“There was shit to be sorted. I figured out how to make you sort said shit. Now, come on, Lila’s got a whole pot of hot cocoa on the stove back home.”
[aggressively] “Daniel, you are going to have so much hell to pay-"
“Oh, and we’ll deal with our not-so-cartoon villains, including but not limited to Thompson’s dad, later. Now, are you two coming or not? The Batmobile is waiting.”
Although still visibly angry at Daniel, Peggy exits the freezer, holding hands with Angie, who exits immediately behind her and then falls in step with her. The lights in the restaurant are turned off, and the jingle of keys can be heard as Angie locks the building.
Or is it?