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Genghis Khan (2016)

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"So - you made a playlist for us to fuck to? Isn't that a little presumptuous?"

Chloe groaned, rubbing her face with her hand. This was exactly the conversation she wanted to have, but here it was starting, and she still hadn't come up with what to say. Perfect.

This is why your plans are bad.

"I mean . . . yeah."

They were spooning in Chloe's bed sometime in the early morning. Despite the fact that Chloe was cold and Victoria was always cold, Chloe hadn't pulled up the blanket for fear of the intimacy warmth and comfort brings. She was always putting thought into these things. She'd hoped Victoria hadn't noticed how much effort that was.

Chloe wanted to drop her hand back down onto Victoria's shoulder, trace literal swirls over her skin like she used to with Rachel. But Victoria made fun of her when she did things like that. Anything that might say, 'I like you.'

What would she say when Chloe actually says, 'I like you'?

Instead, Chloe sat up, crossing her legs so that her knees wouldn't touch Victoria's back. Victoria glanced over her shoulder, then turned, holding her head up like a model to look at Chloe. God, she always looked like a model.

Victoria raised her eyebrows. "What's up?"

"So you know the 'Genghis Khan' music video?" Chloe said, apparently starting at the beginning.

Victoria snorted, amused. "No, why?"

Chloe tapped her fingers on her knees, anxiety (literally) forcing her hand. "So, uh, it features this nazi guy - or this heavily nazi-coded guy, anyway - about to kill this James Bond looking dude he's got strapped down to a chair. Except he's, you know, singing 'Genghis Khan', so he clearly wants to fuck him, but he's like, a little ambivalent about it, 'cause he's a nazi and-"

"Why? are you telling me this?" Victoria's face was pinched, clearly lost.

Chloe exhaled slowly, trying to put her thoughts in order. She rocked herself a little. Why was she so scared of rejection? This whole dynamic was fostered to make rejection impossible. What was the worst that could happen - Victoria wouldn't want to have sex with her anymore?

No, she won't like you, dumbass, and then she'll tell her friends about it. As long as they were just fucking, Victoria was equally - no, more culpable, fucking below her station and all that - but this put Chloe in a place she didn't want to be in, especially with Victoria. Vulnerability.

Chloe took a deep breath and exhaled quickly, regaining her composure to say, "Look, I want to be able to 'presume'. I want to keep doing this and not pretend it's not happening. I-I . . ." Victoria's face had twisted into something - shock? Fear? What was that - and Chloe rapidly ran herself out of steam to be honest.

When Chloe faded into silence, Victoria prompted, "Uh, what do you want? What do you mean?"

Chloe closed her eyes, breathing deep again to re-center herself, and said, "I wanna date you. I don't want to keep pretending I don't like you."

"Oh."

Chloe still couldn't read Victoria's face. Victoria's eyes fell down towards Chloe's legs, and Chloe looked off to the window behind Victoria.

Victoria rolled onto her back, sliding a hand through her hair to keep it off her forehead. "I-hm," Victoria said, a false start. When she started again, she seemed to be picking her words carefully, one at a time. "I. Might be up? for that?"

Chloe tried (and failed) to not let her astonishment slip into her voice: "Wait, really?"

Victoria shrugged. "Yeah? I think so. What do you mean when you say 'date'?"

Oh shit. Chloe hadn't really gotten that far, beyond overly detailed pictures in her head of what dating Victoria would be like. Picking up coffee for her before work. Kissing goodbye when Chloe dropped her off at home after they had sex. Going to the theater downtown (two versions: cute date and cunnilingus in the back row). Sleeping together. Genuine compliments instead of constant sarcasm.

"Uh. Well. I guess we could like, go on dates and stuff. We could kiss and hold hands. And we could . . . not hide each other from our friends."

Victoria bit her lip as she thought, dragging the blanket up with her foot until she could get it to her hand and pull it up over her stomach. She shrugged again as she said, "That seems fine."

"Oh."

Why was this being so easy? Victoria was taking in stride what Chloe had been genuinely confused about for like two weeks.

Chloe took the first thought she could out of that train - "Oh, and like, I'm not asking you to stop sleeping with other people, I just want to be able to-"

Victoria rolled her eyes, which made Chloe hesitate for a second. "Chloe," she interjected, and once Chloe stopped talking, "I'm not sleeping with anyone else. You're the second person I've slept with, ever."

Now it was Chloe's turn to be shocked (and uncomfortable). "Wait . . . like. I thought that . . .?" Chloe couldn't find the words to complete the thought.

Victoria could, though. "That I was a slut, right?"

Chloe had dug this grave, and now she was being asked to lay in it. Dammit. "I guess, yeah?"

"Don't believe everything you read on a bathroom wall."

Victoria looked genuinely frustrated, so Chloe did her best to backpedal. "Yeah, shit, my bad. I'm sorry. I didn't think it was bad, I just . . . shit." Chloe hung her head. She'd been the one to graffiti a good chunk of that, and she got the impression Victoria knew that. "Sorry."

There was a silence that lasted for a while where neither of them would look at the other.

"Look," Victoria finally started, "I know I've made you feel like shit about a lot of stuff." She swallowed before continuing; "Like, your clothes, and your friends, and your job, and your hair. So, like, mostly financial stuff. And a lot of that stuff I actually find really cute and I just . . . am a dick. But, if we're going to do this, I'd prefer we . . . were nice to each other."

Chloe nodded. She felt ashamed, but there was probably no getting around this part. "I'd really like that. I actually like a lot of things about you, I just - well, I thought you'd tease me about it, so I haven't said anything, I guess."

Chloe anticipated more awkwardness with that confession. Instead, Victoria reached out and took her hand. It startled Chloe for a second, but as she wrapped fingers around Victoria's palm, Victoria said, "So, why don't we start being a little more honest? I, for instance, think your tattoo is really cool. Before we ever hooked up, sometimes I'd think about what it'd look like when you rubbed me off."

Gay internal screaming started in Chloe's mind. "Ahh... huh." She tried to think past her fluster. "Cool. Um. God. I guess the thing is like, for me, you're so talented and pretty, and so talented at being pretty with like makeup and stuff, but you're not like, a stereotype when we actually talk."

Victoria raised her eyebrows, and Chloe again backpedaled. "Shit, that sounds like I'm saying 'you're not like other girls', and that's not it. Girls are great, it's just. You're really. I dunno, interesting. I never know what you're thinking. For instance, this -" Chloe gestured back and forth between them with her free hand "- I did not anticipate. I didn't think there was anything you could like about me except a hot piece of ass."

Dude. Your insecurity is showing.

Victoria's expression softened. She smiled, though it looked a bit sad, and broke the hand-hold. She scooted over on the bed, then reached up, cupping Chloe's cheek. "Chloe, you are a hot piece of ass. But you're also loyal, and sensitive when you want to be, and a clever little asshole who doesn't take shit. I'm interested. Is that enough?"

The mixture of insecurity and affection went straight to Chloe's heart, and she was closer to crying than she wanted to let on. Fuck. She reached up to take Victoria's hand, then turned to kiss the inside of her palm.

"Yeah. Yeah, I think so."