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Meddling Kids

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Cady walks into the party, Aaron on her arm, flanked by Damian and Janis and when Karen - who’s hosting somehow - opens the door, she squeals and drags Damian off towards the makeshift dance floor. Her and Damian bonded quickly and endearingly. Janis just rolls her eyes at them and shuffles a little in the doorway.

Standing in the door now is Regina, and she greets Cady and Aaron kindly if a little stiffly (It’s October and Regina’s been out of her spinal-halo for a little over a month now but even more than that, she’s still learning how to be… more normal.)

Aaron and Cady kind-of shuffle past Regina, trying to get past her without letting go of each others’ hands. Cady sees Regina roll her eyes and she’s sure the same would be reflected in Janis behind her.

Janis gives Regina a terse smile and a half-wave before she sort-of ducks her head as she goes to walk into the house. Regina goes to step out of her way, looking anywhere but at the taller girl (Spoiler alert, Cady thinks, things are still really weird between them). As Regina takes her step back one of the soccer guys at the party goes running behind her followed by half his team. A few of them bump into Regina and she stumbles forward.

Cady likes to think that pre-getting-hit-by-a-bus Regina wouldn’t have fallen, but post-bus Regina looks like she might just face-plant. Whether through reflex or something else, Janis lunges forwards and grabs Regina by the elbows, steadying her.

The poor soccer boys look like they might pee themselves when they turn and see the full force of both Regina and Janis’ glares at them. As they all trip over themselves apologizing, Cady observes as Regina stops looking at the soccer boys, and looks down at Janis’ hands still gripping her elbows. They’re still very close and Cady sees Regina gulp as she looks Janis up and down. Cady must be having a stroke because she could swear that Regina’s cheeks color slightly.

A second later Janis looks at Regina and Regina recoils quickly, mumbles a thank you and stalks off. Cady watches as Janis watches her until she disappears and then shuffles her feet and slaps a closed fist into an open palm, cracking her knuckles and sighing.

Aaron’s preoccupied with his soccer bros and honestly, he’s not going to be helpful, so Cady does the only thing she can think to do. She squeals far too loudly and takes off at as much of a run as she can through the very crowded house to find Damian.

She finds him leaning against a wall, drink in hand, chuckling as he watches Karen dance with approximately five different people at once.

“Is Janis actually in love with Regina?” Cady blurts out, and maybe she shouldn’t have done it quite like that…. But she pregamed with Aaron, and she said it quietly, and the room is loud enough and ok she’s still working on being an actually good person.

Damian for his part spits out his drink on to a freshmen passing by but he’s so tanked he barely realizes. Damian grabs Cady by the hand and struts quickly to the backyard. There’s a tire swing out there and although it’s starting to get a little cold, Cady doesn’t notice.

“Cady, what the fuck?”

“I mean, it’s just…. Ok no, wait.” She centers her thoughts. “I saw them, at the door, and there seems to be something there, but it’s not just Janis, actually Regina’s more obvious about it.” She waits as he says nothing. “I know I’m like new at this but I learned all the principles of basic trig in like two weeks so I catch on quick…”

Damian looks around them and then suddenly he’s running in place and fanning at his face. “Oh my god, oh my god, ohmigod I’m so glad someone else noticed I was thinking I was just being like…” here he motions as if to flip long hair over his shoulder, “dramatic.”

“You? Never.” Cady winks and Damian chuckles and rolls his eyes.

“No seriously though, ever since Regina got out of that spinal-halo and she’s been actively hanging out with us… things have been so different.” Cady listened in rapt attention. Damian sat dramatically on the tire swing and crossed his legs. “Like, the last time we all went to the mall and you know how much Janis hates going to the mall with Regina and Gretchen and Katy and then me and you love it so she’s like always rolling her eyes and the only reason she comes is one, to be a better person and two, because she gets to get pretzels?” Cady nods.

“Well last time we were there Janis and I were waiting for you girls to try on those weird new jumpsuit trends and Regina got done way before you guys and she stepped out of the changing room, and I can tell she thought one of you guys would be there but it was just Janis and me, and then Janis literally choked on her pretzel and had to get up and leave to go get some water and I haven’t seen Regina smirk like she did then since before that bus. And Janis wouldn’t look at her for the rest of the day but then they sat next to each other at the movie and I looked over at one point and Regina was just looking at Janis while she laughed at the movie.”

Cady squealed. “Oh my god, Damian, so Janis likes Regina and Regina likes Janis…”

“No Cady, we swore off meddling and scheming.”

“Yeah but this is, one, for a good reason, and two, we’re just gonna like… push them in the right direction so they don’t just keep ignoring it.”

Damian took a moment to think about it. “Ok… where do we start?”