He never felt anything quite as peaceful as this, Mabel curled around him, cheek on his chest, arms around him, one leg hooked over his. The contact of naked skin. He slept, longer and more peacefully than before, but with trepidation.
There was precious little time left, and he couldn’t bear spending so much of it asleep.
He had set the alarm for 8am, which would give them an hour to get dressed, repack their things, check out, and meet in the lobby for the replacement coach bus. But something woke him around 6am - maybe a slight stirring of Mabel - and he couldn’t bear to close his eyes again. She murmured softly in her sleep, and he gently traced his fingers up and down her shoulder. So little time. He wouldn’t waste a moment. And for forty-five minutes he lay there, wide awake, holding her, studying the lines of her sleeping face, softly caressing every bit of skin he could touch.
Nature called. He carefully extricated himself from Mabel’s embrace, scooting off the bed, and without waking, Mabel immediately grasped for his pillow and spooned it. He chuckled softly and went to the bathroom, relieving himself and them splashing water on his face.
There was no way he was getting back to sleep. And Mabel … the right thing to do would probably be to let her sleep as late as possible. But of course they’d been doing quite the opposite of the right thing to do for some time now.
He left the bathroom, dug through his luggage, and pulled out a new change of clothes. Once dressed, and with the room key-card in hand, he went over to the side of the bed and kissed Mabel on the temple.
“All right, Mabes. I’ll see about getting us some breakfast. Back in a bit.”
“Mmm,” she said, apparently half-asleep. “Bring waffles.”
“I’ll do my best,” he chuckled.
The sun was just rising over the trees, and he shaded his face with his ball cap as he left the room and walked toward the hotel lobby. Just before going in, though, he glanced across the street, to the gas-station mini-mart that was apparently just opening.
Well, that’s convenient. I wonder if I should get us some soda or snacks or something before we leave.
He entered the store, grabbing a couple soft drinks and those fake-cheese-flavored chips Mabel likes, and paused.
I wonder if I should …
No, no, absolutely not. There is no way, no way in hell Mabel would ever …
But … if she was interested in trying that ... I mean, they aren’t expensive …
Shit shit shit.
Exhaling sharply, getting his wits together.
You’re fifteen. It’s not weird at all to buy them. It’s responsible. And if you don’t need them, it’s no big deal.
He casually walked over to the pharmaceutical aisle, pretending to be interested in the pain relievers and athletic bandages while checking out the boxes of condoms just a foot to his left.
Damn it, where do I even start? So many types and styles and … sizes. Oh, god, what if they … what if they don’t even make one small enough for … ah, god, this is the worst. Ah, dammit, get it together Dipper. Focus. All right, nothing fancy, none of the flavored stuff or textures - I’ll figure out all that stuff some other day. Lubricated is … good, probably? And let’s … let’s be realistic, let’s get the smallest size, and if it doesn’t fit, well, that’s a nice ego-boost, isn’t it? Ah, god, why don’t they have like a starter pack for this stuff? I’m going to be in a lot of trouble if they don’t come with instructions...
All right. That one. That should do. We’re doing this.
Dipper grabbed a 3-pack of Trojans off the shelf and made his way to the cash register.
All right, let’s get our story straight. You’re a college student. No, no, nobody will believe that. You’re a high school senior. Yeah, good. I’m traveling in my car, which I am able to drive, to visit my girlfriend. Her name is Sandy. She is a camp counselor at … ah, god, need a name, gotta think of a name …
The cashier was a platinum blonde woman in her 30s, who had not been at all subtle in her application of baby blue glittery eyeshadow. She chatted a bit with the elderly man in line before him, apparently here for his daily cup of coffee and danish, before sending him off.
Dipper placed his items - two soft drinks, a bag of chips, and a pack of condoms - on the shelf, and readied himself for the ensuing interrogation.
“That’ll be eleven fifteen, hun,” she said.
“Ah … yes, of course, that is a completely normal price,” he said.
Oh god just run you fool.
He shook it off, pulled out his wallet, gave her a ten and a five.
“One and two and three,” she said, slapping singles into his open palm, “and eighty-five cents,” she added, placing three quarters and a nickel atop them.
“T-thanks,” he said. “There is nothing weird about this.”
Oh god I was only thinking that why did I say that oh crap oh god.
She laughed, slapping the counter with a loud bang.
“Oh, sweetie-pie,” she said. “I bet your girl is the happiest person in the County. Oh, Lord, I remember being your age, and I would’a married my prom date if he was half as brave as you.”
“I … can can leave though, right?” he said, stock still, eyes flicking left and right. This is probably where I get arrested. At least I’m wearing clean underwear. I have that going for me.
“Oh, shoot, I’m making it worse, aren’t I? Yes, of course you can go. But-”
She glanced around, her eyes catching a chilled display of small flower bouquets near the doors.
“-but make sure to take a complimentary bouquet,” she said.
“Trust me, kid. I know a catch when I see one. Good luck on your date!”
“S-sure, yeah, thanks,” he said.
He took the plastic bag she had just filled, went to the cooler full of flowers, opened it, and took out a bouquet of pink carnations, wrapped in clear cellophane and held with an elastic band. He looked back to the cashier, who gave him a thumb’s up.
He was about to thank her. Or apologize to her, as he was not bringing this to his girlfriend. Or confess to her, as he had committed unspeakable crimes and with all his heart intended to commit more. But a gruff middle-aged man with a long beard and flannel jacket came into the store right that moment, and the cashier immediately engaged him in conversation.
Dipper left the store, stuck the flowers in the bag, moved the condoms to his pocket, and crossed the street back to the motel.
As the motel was, well first off, a motel , but secondly, the dictionary definition of “seedy,” Dipper expected the “complimentary continental breakfast” to consist of a basket of store-bought breakfast pastries at most. But he was pleasantly surprised. The lobby where he and Mabel and the majority of other bus passengers had checked-in last night was apparently separated from a larger studio-type room with partitions he hadn’t noticed, and as it was now open, there was a rather impressive buffet, apparently catered in from a restaurant somewhere in town.
He scanned through the offerings. Bacon and sausage were of course off the menu - Waddles and all - but there were individually-sized boxes of cereal, warming trays of scrambled eggs and hash browns, a chilled bowl of fruit salad, several varieties of sliced bread and a toaster, packets of butter and jam, and also, of course, the holy grail.
Yes, Virginia, There Is a Waffle Maker.
An actual waffle maker, with an actual container of batter. And pristine - it was early enough he might be the first person to use it this morning.
No time to waste. Dipper popped open the waffle maker, ladled a serving of batter onto it, and followed the instructions to close it up and turn it. Two minutes later, the timer dinged, and he rotated the waffle maker back up and opened it. Perfection. He stabbed the delicious waffleness with a fork and dragged it onto a plate, and subsequently christened it with a scoop of butter and a criss-cross of maple syrup. He also filled up a bowl with fresh fruit - cantaloupe and watermelon and grapes and strawberries - and a large glass of orange juice. He stuck a handful of napkins and two each of forks and knives into the pockets of his cargo shorts, carefully balanced the waffle plate on the fruit bowl on the orange juice glass, and made his way back to the room.
He swiped the keycard, got the green light and whirr of gears, pushed down the handle and opened the door. He was surprised to see the opaque curtains open, though the translucent ones were still in place - allowing light into the room but still allowing privacy - and the lights and TV were on.
Mabel was lounging on the bed, over the sheets, wearing a pink sleeveless shirt and pink-and-black-striped skirt.
She was wearing make-up. Her pink lipstick was the most obvious, but perhaps the blush on her cheeks was also make-up blush. He checked the clock. It was just before seven. He’d been gone barely ten minutes. She just woke up and looked like she was ready for a date.
“About time,” she said. “What’s the haul?”
He glanced around the room.
“Close your eyes a sec, Mabes. I’ve got a surprise.”
“All right,” she said, and placed her hands over her eyes.
The bureau had an ugly brown tray on which the ice container and two plastic tumblers had been arrayed when they checked in. He set those aside and arranged Mabel’s breakfast. The waffle, front and center. Fruit bowl to the left. Orange juice to the top left. And most importantly, the flowers. The tumblers were tall enough to serve as a vases. He ran to the bathroom, filled both with water, positioned one as a water glass, and the other as a vase. He snapped the stems of the flowers six inches from the buds, and placed them in the vase-tumbler.
With the arrangement complete, he stepped back, and immediately realised Mabel would have made something a thousand times prettier in half the time.
“All right, here you go, Mabes. Breakfast in bed, as agreed.”
He saw it in her eyes, the excitement at his attempt, the recognition it was terribly disappointing, and the understanding it was literally the best he could do.
“Holy crap, you did it! They really had waffles!”
“Yeah, the buffet was actually pretty good. I guess they spent all the carpet-vacuuming money on a waffle maker.”
“And the flowers are a nice touch. You really know how to make a girl feel special sometimes.”
He shrugged her off with a blush.
“Oh, and I got some snacks from the mini-mart across the street, so we have something for the ride.”
“Awesome,” she said.
He placed the tray on the bed, and they proceeded to eat together.
“So, what time are we getting out of here?” she asked.
“Nine o’clock. So, a little less than two hours. Sorry about waking you up so early.”
“Oh, no problem. I’m too excited to sleep anyway.”
“You look really good, by the way.”
“Aw, thanks!” she said, smacking him on the shoulder.
“So … are we … we just had weird dreams last night? Is that how we’re playing this?”
She put down her fork. “I … I don’t know. I mean, obviously, once we get home, we gotta play it crazy cool. But stuff like last night … it could be a one-time thing, of course, but I kinda don’t want it to be.”
“Y-yeah, same here,” he said. “I mean, as long as we’re cautious … still … I just don’t know where this is going to go.”
“Yeah,” she said. “It might just be a weird phase we’re going through, and we’ll look back on this crazy thing we did and make a pact to pretend it never happened. But if it’s not … well, we’re gonna be living in our own place in a couple years anyway, right?”
“So we’re gonna … keep this on a slow simmer, then?”
“If we agree on it, yeah. I mean, right off the bat, we gotta promise each other, if one of us hits the stop button, we just drop it and go back to what we were. No hard feelings. No jealousy when we start dating other people. No weird ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend stuff. And all the stuff we did in secret … well, we tell ourselves it’s just sleepover games that went too far once or twice. Because if we can’t agree to that, and this all comes apart … then we better stop this right now before it gets too heavy.”
“Mabel,” he said. “You’re right. You’re totally right. Let’s agree to that, right here and now.”
“So you’re in?” she said. “Super-Secret Sometimes Naked Sleepover Twins?”
“One hundred percent,” he said.
They fist-bumped on it.
“All right,” she said. “Well, now that we got that out of the way, and considering we still have the room for a while, I wonder what we should do with ourselves?”
“Ah … I don’t know … what do you suggest?”
Please suggest “making out” ...
“Well, you could help me on my scrapbook - I don’t have pictures from the last couple weeks developed yet, but everything up to that is printed and ready to go.”
“We don’t have to, though. We have those travel games we got for our birthday, maybe play one of those?”
“That’d be fine too,” he said.
“Or maybe solve a mystery together?”
“Yep! I call it: ‘The mystery of why Mabel jumped out of bed as soon as you left, and got herself as date-ready as she can in fifteen minutes.’”
“That’s … that’s an interesting mystery,” he said.
“I mean, seriously, was I too subtle? I’m wearing lipstick at 7am, Dipper. When have I ever done that before?”
“So like, you wanna make out?”
She rolled her eyes.
“ Duh , yeah, I wanna make out. What’s a girl gotta do, send you a written invitation?”
“All right, I’m oblivious, I get it. Here, let me get the tray out of the way.”
He moved the tray of mostly-eaten breakfast onto the bureau, catching the movement as Mabel drew something from under her pillow.
“I came prepared,” she said. “Here.”
A folded piece of pink construction paper from Mabel’s scrapbook kit, with a heart in the center, ringed with pink glitter and stickers of rainbows and stars. He opened it and read the inscription inside, in rather impressive calligraphy.
Dearest Dippingsauce, would you do me the honor of making out with me? Yours, Lady Mableton.
“You … you literally sent me a written invitation to make out,” he said.
“Not my finest work. I only had like two minutes,” she said. “Not enough time to come up with even one good pun.”
“Didn’t you just get those calligraphy pens a couple days ago? How did you get so good at writing like this?”
“Aw, you noticed! I wanted to try calligraphy for the scrapbook, so I spent a few hours practicing. I mean, it’s still pretty janky, but good enough.”
“I mean, we still have to burn this,” he said. “This is like, Exhibit A here.”
“To ashes,” she said.
He placed the card on the bedside table, leaned over, and kissed her, his heart leaping in his chest as she wrapped her arms around him.
“I can’t believe I never noticed before, how beautiful you are,” he said.
“Hee,” she said. “You’re not so bad yourself.”
Hands over clothes, feeling her warmth against his chest, beneath his hands. And the desperate need for more.
Soon his hands were under her shirt, cupping her breasts through her bra, and a few minutes later they’d each removed their shirts, and he had reached around her back, tugging at the bra clasp somewhere between her shoulders. Mabel giggled.
“Man, the movies were right . These things are really hard to get off,” he sighed.
“Geez,” she said. “And I picked this one specifically to make it easier on you,” she said.
“You’re telling me you have bras that are harder to get off?”
“Yeah. Because they have the clasp on the back. This one opens at the front.”
“Oh,” he said. “So I …”
“You’re literally as far away from it as you can be,” she chuckled.
“Right, so let’s try this again…”
He leaned back, finding the hook between the cups of her bra, and popped it open. The excitement washed over him again as he parted the material and lay his hands on her bare breasts.
Soon, his mouth was upon her, suckling Mabel’s delicious nipples, nipping at her perfect breasts. Soon, his hand was on her knee, moving up her thigh. She pressed her face to the top of his head, gasping and moaning as he worked her breasts and rubbed her clit through her panties. Soon, he hooked his finger under the thin layer of cotton, pulled her panties aside, exposed Mabel’s vulva to her touch.
“Oh god,” she whispered.
He dipped fingers into her, making her writhe her hips and moan, and soon her hand was busy as well, unbuttoning his shorts, slipping into his underwear, wrapping fingers around his shaft and stroking firmly. He brought his mouth to hers, and for several beautiful minutes, they kissed deeply and pleasured each other, responding to each other, moans of satisfaction as he became hard in her fist, moans of satisfaction as she became wet beneath his fingers.
“Mmm,” she said. “Dipper?”
“Maybe … maybe you don’t want to, and it’s okay if you don’t, but … did you want to, like, do it ?”
He leaned back in surprise.
“‘Do it’? You mean like … you and me … all the way?”
“Yeah. I mean … we’re not gonna have another shot at this for a while, I think. And maybe it’s not a good idea - actually, I know it’s not a good idea - but still … all this kinda feels … unfinished, I guess?
“Mabel, you understand … that’s a really serious thing … I mean, everything so far was pretty damn serious, but that … Mabel, you’re still a virgin, right? That’s something … that’s something I don’t think I could take from you.”
“Well, I’m as technical a virgin as a girl can be, no thanks to you,” she laughed. “And, well, you’re no better off. Plus … well, it’s mine, to give, isn’t it? My first time is something I can offer to anyone I want. And if somehow I wanted that time to be your first time as well … I dunno, I just …”
She sucked in a breath.
“I’m just saying, if you asked me to …”
He leaned close, kissed her cheek, her eyebrow, her forehead. Soft kisses on every part of her face.
“Mabel,” he breathed. “You’re my twin sister. You’re my best friend. And I love you. I’ve never loved anyone more than you, and I think I never will. And that’s the only thing that’s holding me back. I don’t want to love you this way if it means losing all that. But if I can love you this way, and still love you as a sister, and as a friend … if we can be lovers and friends and siblings, all at the same time …”
“We can,” she whispered. “I know we can. If we want to.”
“Then maybe,” he said, “this is just another adventure for us to share. Just for us.”
“So you mean…”
He embraced her, crushed her against him. He would never let her go. Lips to her mouth, kissing her, tasting her. Nothing sweeter than Mabel’s lips.
“Mabel,” he said. “I know I don’t deserve it, I know we shouldn’t, but I’ll ask anyway. Be with me. Let me love you.”
She nodded, tears streaming down her eyes.
“The mini-mart across the street,” she said. “When you were in there, did you see - do you think they might sell condoms?”
“Mabel, I already …”
He sighed, pulled the box out of his pocket, brought it to her face so she could see.
“Dipper. Oh my god, Dipper. You mean - before I even said anything … you’re not just saying you want to because I brought it up. You actually … you wanted this too!”
“I wasn’t … I wanted to be ready, just in case. I wanted to ask you, but … I was so sure you wouldn’t want to … even if you said yes, I’d worry it was just to make me happy, and not because you wanted to do it just as much…”
“Dipper,” she whispered. “Stupid Dipper, making me cry so much. God, we’ve been here almost an hour eating breakfast, and making out, when we could’ve been … we could’ve been…”
She immediately yanked her skirt and underwear down, throwing them at the pile of luggage near the door, and then grabbed his shoulders, and drew him close, kissing and digging fingernails into his back before pressing his forehead to hers.
“I’m ready,” she said. “I am so freaking ready. Let’s do this.”
“R-right,” he said. He kicked off his shorts and underwear and reached for the box beside him, tearing open the side and pulling out one of the three foil-wrapped squares.
“Sorry,” he said, “give me a minute to read the instructions. I want to make sure I get this right.”
“No hurry,” she said. “Oh, wait, that sounded sarcastic.”
She placed a hand on his thigh.
“I mean it, Dipper, don’t hurry. If we made a mistake, and I got pregnant …” She shook her head. “But that won’t happen. Because you’re careful. And I know I can trust you. So take as much time as you need.”
Right. Expiration date checks out. Package squishes like a pillow, so the air pocket is still there and it’s still sealed. Tear open the side with fingers only. Good so far. Okay, which direction does it go? Okay, it’s rolled up, it goes this way so … yeah, that’s it. All righty. Place it on the tip. Squeeze the end to get the air out. Roll it down to the base. Hey, wow, that was pretty easy. And I’ve got a layer of green plastic on my erect penis. Sex is weirder than I ever imagined.
“All right,” he said. “We’re all set.”
She rolled onto her back and spread her legs, hands reaching out for him.
“Awesome,” she said. “We’re go for docking, Dipper-two.”
“Dipper-one ran out of fuel and never made rendezvous,” she said. “The crew died horribly, sorry to say.”
“Mabel, where the hell did you-”
“You’ve been playing that spaceship game on your phone almost the way from Gravity Falls,” she said. “I pay attention to your nerd stuff sometimes. And anyway, it’s kind of a good metaphor for sex, don’t you think?”
She waved her hands.
“Think about it. Two spaceships out in the void, carefully approaching the other. Trying to get to the exact same spot at the exact same speed at the exact same time. So much stuff could go wrong, and it would be a disaster! Kablooey!”
She splayed her arms out to suggest an explosion.
“But,” she said, “if they talk to each other, plan things out - they can meet in a place that’s just perfect for them, and make contact, and become one.”
She reached out, held his arm.
“That’s us ,” she said. “We know almost everything about each other. We can practically read each other’s minds sometimes. So of course we’re perfectly compatible, in everything. Even this. Especially this.”
“Mabel,” he whispered. “How are you … how can you say something so perfect to me?”
“Did I say it right?” she said. “I dunno, I’m kinda translating this all into nerd-speak on the fly, so I hope I got it right.”
“I think I got the message,” he said.
“Good,” she said. “I was really afraid you’d make me talk more space to you, and that was pretty much the end of my crib sheet.” She grinned. “No more fancy words, okay?”
“Awesome. Now, if you please, stick your whatzit in my hoo-hah.”
He laughed, kissing her cheek.
“My dearest Lady Mableton,” he said. “With your permission, I shall now enter your girly-garden,”
“You are permitted,” she said. “Indeed, Sir Dippingsauce, you are the guest of honor.”
God, this felt weird. The experiences of last evening helped things along, as he pressed himself against her, knowing Mabel’s entrance was low, no, still lower, way way down there, and oh there it goes . He braced himself on the bed with his knees and hands, the tip of his cock just barely inside her. She gripped his shoulders and gasped.
God I don’t want to hurt her don’t let me hurt her.
“Mabel,” he said. “Are you-?”
“Good!” she gasped. “It’s fine! Don’t cheap out on me. I know you got more than that. Slow, though!”
“Mabel, I swear to God I will stop right now if it hurts even a little-”
Her face that of burning fury and determination. Her hands moved lower, grabbing his hips, digging her nails into his skin.
“Don’t you dare ,” she said. “Don’t you dare stop. I can take it.”
“It doesn’t hurt, I promise. Keep going. I wanna know … I wanna know what it feels like … when you’re completely inside me …”
He pushed, and within a few seconds was inside her entirely, and he adjusted position on the bed.
“Mabel, is this - is this okay?”
“Mmm. Augh, it’s so weird,” she said. “It’s like … I don’t know, like a new form in yoga class I’m just learning. Finding muscles I didn’t know I had.”
“We can stop,” he said. “We can always stop. There’s no point at all if you’re not enjoying it.”
“Oh, don’t worry, it’s just a little uncomfortable. Mmm, wow. So you’re all the way in, huh?”
“That’s … that’s all I got, yeah. Sorry...”
“Oh god, Dipper, I didn’t mean it like that.” She pulled him close, kissed him. “I mean, I can definitely feel you in there. And you are really in there. I just mean … it’s hard to believe. You and me. I took you inside me. All of you. And something about that … makes me so incredibly happy.”
“How does it feel for you, Dipper?”
“Warm,” he said. “And tight. It feels so good, Mabel.”
“Mmm. I’m glad. Ah, I think … yeah, I’m a little more relaxed. You wanna start to move?”
“God yes,” he said.
She grinned, wrapped her arms around him.
“C’mere,” she said.
Balanced on his shins, her legs around his back, he slowly began to slide out and then in again, careful not to go to fast or pull all the way out, and gradually figuring out the movements of his legs and hips to make that happen.
She possessed him, gripping him with everything she had, vagina holding his cock inside her, legs holding his stomach against hers, arms holding his chest against hers, hands holding his mouth against hers.
He never thought he’d last this long his first time. Ejaculating - twice ! - the night before surely helped, and perhaps the condom helped as well. Or perhaps all the sensations of making love to Mabel just overwhelmed him to the point he couldn’t focus on a feeling or thought long enough to be stoked to completion.
He was glad, as it was taking Mabel some time to build up, but he could see it now, her short breaths, beautiful little moans and gasps. Seeing evidence of her building toward an orgasm quickly brought him closer to his own, and he carefully paced himself.
“M-mabel,” he gasped. “I’m not gonna last much longer.”
“It’s all right,” she said. “Whenever you want; I don’t mind!”
He felt it, the tension winding up like a watch spring, the need to release.
“What about you, Mabel?”
“Ah … getting there … it’s all right if I don’t, though …”
He adjusted his position, freeing a hand, moving his face away from her mouth and toward her chest, moving his free hand toward the juncture of her thighs.
Hope this works.
“Uagh!” she cried, as he simultaneously sucked her nipple and thumbed her clit.
Her breathing quickened, and all the little muscles of her hips started to twitch as he worked her clit and nipple, all the while thrusting into her.
“Oh god,” she whispered. “Oh god, oh god, I’m gonna … no, not like this - Dipper!”
She gripped his hair, dislodged her from her breast, and pulled his face to hers, almost nose-to-nose.
“L-like this!” she gasped. “Oh god, I wanna cum like this! Look at me Dipper! Oh, god, it feels so good … ah … together … if we can do it together …”
“M-mabel,” he groaned. He felt it, the coiled-up spring, the heat of impending release. And at the same time, Mabel’s vagina tensing and relaxing around him at a rapid pace.
She squinted, tears spilling from the corners of her eyes, her mouth open wide, gasping for breath, and he felt sure he too had the same expression, a face of pure pleasure and desperate need.
“Dipper please,” she gasped. “Oh please oh please I - hah! Haaaah!”
He groaned, emptying himself inside her, the sensation of orgasm magnified a thousandfold by the sensation of Mabel’s own orgasm pumping his shaft.
They kissed, quick kisses, gasping, catching their breath. She felt so good . So right. Ah, god, he wished he could stay inside her.
With a soft grunt, he began to pull away.
“Don’t pull out. Not yet.”
“Mabel, I have to. The condom.”
He drew out of her, stunned by the beauty of Mabel’s post-coital vagina - glistening wet, flushed red, her entrance visibly spread open in the sudden absence of his penis. He quickly grabbed some tissues, removed the condom, ran the bathroom sink and cleaned himself off before rejoining Mabel on the bed.
“Oh wow,” she said. “Wowie wowie wow.”
“You all right, Mabes?”
“Better than all right,” she said. “I mean … I had no idea it was like that . Oh man, we are definitely doing that again!”
“And we’re still … you know …”
“Oh you bet,” she said. “Still Mystery Twins. Just with like, a very very secret handshake.”
She side-eyed him, getting a laugh out of him.
“All right, so we have like…”
He glanced at the clock.
“Not enough time for two showers, huh?” she said. “If we share, what are the odds we’ll actually get clean and not just fondle each other for twenty minutes?”
“Not great,” Dipper admitted.
“Well, I’ll take ‘em anyway,” she said.
He followed her into the bathroom, and to their credit, they kept the groping down to a minimum. Half an hour later, they were dressed and packed and checked-out and waiting in the lobby.
When the bus turned into the parking lot, the twins exchanged a glance of disappointment. This place was limbo, after all, a location between spaces and not a location unto itself. In Piedmont, they were their parents’ children. In Gravity Falls, they were lifelong friends of the town’s residents. But in transit, they were neither. They were simply Dipper and Mabel Pines, two people who loved each other more than anything else in this world. Here, they were free to explore what that really meant. To cast aside society’s taboos, act without judgment, speak the words unspoken. Here, they were allowed to study their relationship in every aspect, find the curves and edges of each other's souls, and discover they were two puzzle pieces made to be joined in a way they would never have considered anywhere else. Here they learned they could be one, if they wanted to.
As they found their seats, Mabel smiled at him, not a beaming smile, but lopsided, resigned. He patted her shoulder and stretched out in the seat. They could not speak what they were thinking here, which was fine, as he knew for sure they were thinking the same thing. They had invoked a spell that might fade in the few hours it would take to get home. A spell that perhaps only worked when he and Mabel were a hundred miles from anyplace and anyone they ever knew. Would the previous twelve hours disappear from their memories when they reached their destination? If not, would they convince themselves it was all a dream? Should they?
The bus rumbled and jerked as the driver brought it onto the on-ramp, and Mabel bounced against him, almost knocking his book out of his hands. He thought nothing of it as she placed her hand on his knee to steady herself, except for the way she let go. It was done in an instant - surely too fast for anyone to notice, particularly amid the grumbled complaints of half-dislodged and understandably short-fused passengers. But he felt her let go of his knee, letting her fingers slide up the inside of his upper thigh, just under the hem of his shorts, dragging her fingernails just hard enough to leave white marks on his skin, covered by the fabric as she let go, gripped the seat ahead of her and wiggled her butt back into her window seat.
They dared not make eye contact. He knew for sure it would be days, perhaps weeks, perhaps months, before they would even speak of this again. But her gesture - and the relief he felt from it - reassured him that what they started here would not end here. It was small, just a coal, just a carefully packaged ember they would bring home with them, place in a safe spot, and feed just enough fuel to maintain its dull-red heat. But someday, they would build a spot for it, carefully arrange kindling, place their ember upon it, and make it a raging fire.
Someday, he knew, whatever the consequence, he and Mabel would burn together.
There is no sense in pretending
Your eyes give you away
Something inside of you
Is feeling like I do
And we’ve said all there is to say
- Tom Petty