Bernice didn’t endure years of training, not to mention hours upon hours of intricate and utterly transformative plastic surgery, just so some ditzy blonde could blab her secret and ruin Zane’s ultimate plan. But as she prepares to roundhouse K.C. Cooper’s annoying BFF, a thought occurs to her.
In the past, seduction has always been more effective for her than overt force. Why should this mission be any different?
“Marisa, hey, don’t worry,” she says, tilting her hips, batting her eyelashes. “I know I’ve been acting strange, but it’s really me, I promise.”
Marisa stares at her, fearful, doubtful.
“I guess I’ve been acting so weird lately because… well… the truth is, I like you.” Is she selling it? She hopes she’s selling it. Marisa watches on in shocked silence. “Like you, like you. You know, as in girlfriends? Froyo-sharing, going on dates, like-like you.”
Marisa just keeps staring, but now instead of complete distrust in her eyes there’s more surprise, and… hope? Bernice smirks inwardly. She knew this would be a piece of cake.
“In fact,” she adds, leaning closer. She puts a hand on the side of Marisa’s face and glides in to kiss her, inhaling the sugary-sweet scent of Marisa’s shampoo. She can feel Marisa responding, just a little, unless… maybe her lips are just parting in surprise.
Marisa shoves her away. “You are not K.C.,” she says furiously.
Well. Seduction’s always been more effective, but when that fails...
Who can blame a girl for using violence?
Marisa’s out cold before she hits the ground.
When Bernice shows up with Marisa in tow, K.C.’s heart flutters like a dying moth. She’s torn between her relief at seeing a familiar face and her horror at seeing her best friend getting dragged into such a dangerous situation.
“How did you know it wasn’t me?” K.C. asks when they’re alone in the barn, chained up and helpless.
Marisa, absurdly, looks kind of embarrassed. “Well, you… uh, the she-you I mean, the other you… she said she had a crush on me, and she kissed me.” Marisa ducks her head, cheeks flaring pink. “First I was like whaaaat and then I was like oooooh that’s not K.C. and then I ended up here with you asking me that question.”
K.C. looks astonished and slightly, slightly amused. “Bernice kissed you?”
“Yep,” Marisa confirms. “But for the record, I’m pretty sure your breath smells much nicer.”
“Not after two weeks trapped here it doesn’t.”
Later, after everything, after Brett and Zane and the Organization, Marisa and K.C. relax on the bench outside the Cooper home, relieved to be safe. Relieved to know that everyone is who they say they are.
“Hey, how’d your parents know which one of you was you and which one was Bernice?” Marisa asks.
“Well, they didn’t kiss me,” K.C. laughs. “Let’s just say… they brought up my Number One Mistake.” Marisa gives her a confused look (which isn’t actually that different from her normal expression). “Oh, I ain’t telling you . I’m taking that story to the grave.”
Marisa narrows her eyes. “Then how do I know you’re really K.C.?”
“Take a whiff.” K.C. blows in her face and Marisa laughs.
“I’m glad you got a chance to brush your teeth.”
“Me too.” K.C. leans back, relishing in the open air and freedom and good times with the girl who knows her best in the world. There’s still something bothering her, though. “Marisa?”
“Yeah?” Marisa looks up from picking at her nails. “What? What is it?”
“Just… you knew Bernice was a fake because she said she was into you.”
Marisa shrugs and tucks a lock of hair behind one ear. “Well, yeah,” she says like it’s obvious. “It was kind of a dead giveaway. The real you is way more awkward when you’re trying to flirt.”
K.C. rolls her eyes but then sobers. “Just… I want you to know… and I’m not trying to confirm anything or start anything or whatever, I mean I just dumped a guy who tried to kill my family, I’m definitely rattled right now and stuff, but…”
“K.C., just tell me.”
“If somebody who looks like me ever tries to kiss you again, or says they like you,” K.C. says, feeling her face get heated, “don’t… automatically assume it’s not me. Okay?”
Marisa’s eyes widen. “Oh… oh .”
“Sorry, I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable…”
“No, you didn’t!”
“And like I said, I’m not ready for anything…”
“I totally get it!”
“Okay.” K.C. drums her hands on her knees, suddenly feeling self-conscious. “Well, I should probably get inside. We’re finally celebrating my parents’ anniversary, this time without all of us nearly getting annihilated.”
“Alrighty,” Marisa says, her voice a little higher than normal. “Have fun!”
“Have fun at your party,” K.C. says.
Before Marisa leaves, though, she turns back to say one more thing. “Wait! I almost forgot, when you were missing and your weird clone was hanging around, you missed one of my best nicknames yet,” she declares. “I called fake-you ‘K.C. with the pretty facey.’”
“I like it.”
“Thanks,” Marisa grins proudly. “So… goodnight, K.C. with the pretty facey.”
“Goodnight, Marisa-who’s-probably-a-great-kisser.” K.C. looks a little embarrassed, like she didn’t realize what she was saying until she said it.
Marisa just smiles and pecks her on the cheek. “For the record,” she says, “you’re a lot cuter than Bernice.” And then she flounces away, blonde hair flying behind her.
K.C. just stares after her, one hand drifting up to touch the place on her cheek where Marisa kissed her.