Remembering their first date always calmed Katya down when she was nervous. Just like Trixie had asked on the night they met, they went out the next day. Trixie had practically bought out a Trader Joe’s for their picnic spread, and they’d watched Pretty in Pink on Art Hill while lounging on a quilt Trixie’s aunt had made her when she was young. Katya had made cookies, the night before when she was too anxious to sleep. Trixie loved them, had eaten at least four, and was impressed that Katya hadn’t used a mix. They talked intermittently throughout the movie, and for an hour after it ended, while eating blackberries and cheese and finishing their wine. Katya had learned about Trixie’s fear of wasps, how her college roommate had become her current roommate, how her mom had reacted when Trixie went vegetarian, when she came out. In return, she’d told Trixie about the car accident she was in her senior year of high school, her favorite movies, and how she became an art teacher. They’d exchanged pictures of Yoko, Trixie’s tuxedo cat she’d adopted last year, and Katya’s college art while their knees brushed and they shared snacks.
When Katya was feeling anxious, she especially liked to remember how their ankles had crossed on the blanket and Trixie’s laughter as Katya sang along to Try A Little Tenderness. Inevitably, she’d feel flustered when she remembered how awkward she made the end of their first date. It’d been years, and Katya still regretted telling Trixie she didn’t have to walk her up to her apartment. Somewhere floating in the cloud was the embarrassing text she’d sent, reading “it’s now that I’m alone in my apartment that I realize I should have let you walk me to my door so that I could smoothly kiss you goodbye” Trixie, being amazing and hilarious and so head-over-heels already, had offered to turn around and come back. Katya had suggested brunch instead, and they’d met Sunday morning after Trixie got off a 24 hour shift at work.
Usually, if remembering the butterflies of their first date didn’t calm Katya down, their second date would do it. She remembered Trixie wiggling her eyebrows at her when they ordered bottomless mimosas and the soft moan that escaped her lips when she tried her food. Katya choked on her own food at the sound, which was so embarrassing that she started to panic a bit before Trixie offered her a bite from her fork. Katya felt equally uncool as Trixie when she noticed her flushed cheeks as Katya opened her mouth for her to feed her.
Katya couldn’t recall whose idea it was to go to the bookstore after, giggly on orange juice diluted with champagne, but she does remember that it was Trixie who reached out to hold her hand inside of it. And when they’d left towards the thrift store across the street, Trixie was still holding her hand. It was there, as the rain started to drizzle, that Katya had found the Costco employee’s vest that had prompted them to drive 25 minutes together in Trixie’s jeep out of the county and to the closest Costco with Courtney’s membership card. Katya pushed the cart they didn’t quite need, and they sampled everything they could and browsed every aisle. Katya couldn’t resist the bag of tortilla chips as big as her torso, just for the novelty of it, and Trixie had some grocery requests from her roommate that they hunted for. Trixie insisted that they stop for the frozen yogurt from the food court, and Katya will never forget the jaw-dropped expression Trixie had when Katya revealed she didn't have much of sweet tooth. Trixie insisted she try it, and Katya shared it with her to make her happy. Katya remembered the hopeful glint in Trixie’s eye when she asked Katya if she wanted to be taken to her car now or if they could drop the groceries at Trixie’s place first, the shit-eating grin Trixie tried to hide when Katya agreed to go back to Trixie’s.
If Katya was feeling especially anxious, or if she just had time to daydream, she’d remember how Trixie had found Katya sitting on her sofa, anxious then too, and sat next to her so that their thighs were touching. Katya started to say something to fill the silence, but Trixie had brushed her hair away from her face and leaned in. Even now, Katya thought Trixie was most beautiful when her eyes fluttered closed right before a kiss. Their first kiss was sweet and unassuming and it honestly took Katya's breath away. When she pulled back, she saw the way Trixie's eyes slowly blinked open and the look on her face encouraged Katya to lean in again. When Trixie opened her mouth in surprise or interest or who knows what, Katya was ready to kiss her way inside of her, lightly brushing their tongues together. Katya lost track of how long they'd made out. She knew that by the time Courtney walked in, Trixie was on her lap and Katya's hand was under her shirt, tracing designs on her lower back. Courtney had apologized profusely, offered to go back out, but Katya had guided Trixie off her lap and suggested Trixie drive her back to her car. And since Katya was only human, they’d made out in Trixie's jeep for a bit before saying goodnight.
Usually, remembering the early days of falling for Trixie helped her feel less anxious. But it wasn't helping her today. With another glance at the clock on the wall, she fished for her cell phone in her smock pocket and called Trixie.
“Hi honey,” Trixie answered, and her voice soothed some of the turning waves in Katya's gut.
“The order I placed for Monday's lesson wasn't approved and I only just found out,” Katya blurted, “I've been hyping the kids up for it for weeks and no one even hinted to me that I wouldn't get those paints.”
Trixie made a sympathetic whimper, and Katya could hear her moving things around, possibly getting up from a desk.
“Okay, I know there's a bigger problem going on, but let's focus on the things we can change. You've got a weekend to come up with an even cooler lesson. I'll help you. Or we can like, see if there's a cheap alternative to the paint.” Katya felt her muscles relaxing at the suggestions. Trixie was right, there were pieces of this problem that could be solved, small pieces that’d hide the bigger picture.
“I love you,” Katya sighed, gently rubbing the bridge of her nose.
“I know you do. I love you too,” Trixie's voice was soft, like she was trying to be quiet, “Which is why I hate that your job gets to you like this.”
“I'm alright mostly. Hearing your voice helps.”
“Did you picture our first date again?” The smile in Trixie's voice was almost audible; Katya almost regretted telling Trixie her coping strategy because it only inflated Trixie’s ego more. Katya mmm-hmm’ed around a sip of her coffee. “Did you make it to the third date before you called?”
“No, I didn't, you little minx. It's only ten am,” Katya faked being scandalized, as if there wasn't suddenly a heat stirring in her belly at Trixie's tone change.
“Never stopped you before,” Trixie suggested. Katya could easily envision the look in her eye, the same one she had on their third date when she suggested they move to Katya's bedroom.
“I miss that landing strip,” Katya's voice dropped, “It was sexy.”
“So are you. But that was a choice .”
“Liked the way it fit under my tongue,” Katya purred. She was slightly putting it on for Trixie, but she actually had loved the thin brown landing strip Trixie had when they met.
“Okay pervert, we’re at work!” Trixie laughed, the sound of a door closing behind her.
“You started it!” Katya defended.
“And you'll finish us both tonight,” Trixie said in an even tone, “But now that you're feeling more like yourself, you need to go eat lunch.”
“Thanks, baby. I love you.”
“I love you too, see you tonight.” Katya hung up the phone, leaning back into her chair.
She had never told Trixie, because she knew she'd call her a sap, but her favorite part of their third date wasn't the dinner or the sex that night, even though it'd been incredible. Trixie had clearly spent the entire day primping for her, with freshly waxed pubic hair and perfectly curled hair. She'd taken the lead in her perfectly matched baby pink lingerie until Katya got over her nervousness and pushed her onto her back and eaten her out until her jaw cramped. Trixie had shyly asked for Katya to sit on her face, like she'd been embarrassed about wanting it.
No, what she loved most about that date was waking up with Trixie's shin pressed into her calf, a tanned arm holding her close. She loved the look of surprise on Trixie's face when she came into the kitchen and Katya had made omelets. She loved the rosy flush of her cheeks when Katya kissed her filthily over coffee, asking her how she slept. But of it all, her favorite part was how after breakfast, Trixie had spotted a deck of cards and asked Katya if she wanted to play Go Fish.
They'd sat with cooling coffee and the windows cracked open, facing each other on the sofa, Katya in a tank top and yoga shorts, Trixie in her panties from last night and the a 2XL shirt with a cartoon of Elvis Katya got from donating blood once. By the time one game of Go Fish had finished, Trixie's leg was wrapped around Katya's lap, Katya's bare nails lightly scratching her knee and up the stretch marks on her thigh.
“Have any, um…” Trixie shuddered, “Threes?” Katya shook her head slowly, not even looking down at her deck.
“Instead of going fish, will you please fuck me?” Trixie whispered, tossing her cards onto the floor. Katya grinned, diving on top of Trixie, who was already stripping her shirt off.
Katya's phone vibrated twice, dancing across her desk, and she was back in her classroom. She shook her hair off her sweaty neck and checked the alert.
“Are you eating yet?” it read. Katya shoved herself out of her desk chair and headed towards the staff room, responding with a heart emoji, the peach emoji, and the pizza emoji.