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Too Close for Comfort

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The first time Chelsea kisses her, she doesn't want it to happen, really.

Janet is annoyed with Chelsea (when is she not?) and especially Gerald, because it feels like everyone is constantly ganging up against her. Her umma and appa do it all the time, and Jung is constantly trying to prove to her that he is better than her (which he is not), not to mention the fact that practically everyone in her photography program underestimates her. So when she learns that Gerald, her one and only steadfast friend who she thinks will stand by her through anything, is smack-talking her behind her back with Chelsea, that stupid, stupid girlfriend of his that she thought they both couldn't stand, that was it. She had had enough, so she was going to get back at him and show him how much it hurts, by talking trash about him with Chelsea.

But that isn't what happens.

Janet makes sure Gerald is away, pours two glasses of her absolute favorite red (but leaves the bottle open, suspecting she'll need more by the time the night is over), changes into her jammies, and gets Chelsea on board with having a gal pal night.

At first, her plan works perfectly. Chelsea is bubbly and laughing, and she's looking at Janet like she means something to her, beyond just being Gerald's friend. So she decides to move forward with her plan, and she starts trying to trash talk Gerald. But Chelsea, stupid stupid stupid Chelsea in that annoying squeal of a voice she has, just won't shut up about how great Gerald is. So Janet tells her that there are things they can do, things they can say, things they can share with each other, that Gerald never has to know about.

Chelsea starts shifting forward, closer to Janet, nodding in agreement. And for some reason (probably the wine-- definitely the wine), Janet's head starts to feel a little light as Chelsea shifts closer and closer to her, and something fluttery bubbles up in her stomach, and her heart is beating way too fast for no apparent reason, and for some reason she can't tear her eyes away from Chelsea's, who is not maintaining eye contact, but instead looking at her with this sort of hungry look.

And then Chelsea lunges forward and their lips connect for a brief moment.

"Chelsea, that's-- that's--"

"I know," she giggles. "Just a secret, between us gal pals."

"That can't happen again," Janet protests, flustered for a reason she can't quite understand (she tells herself that it's because she hates Chelsea, that's why, and she just wasn't expecting this, there were no signs after all, and she's straight, and she's totally never wanted to know what a girl's lips feel like).

"Right," Chelsea smirks with a wink.

"No, seriously."

"Seriously," she parrots.

"Seriously, seriously."

"Right," Chelsea says, smirk still on her face.

And then, of course, the door swings open and Gerald in all his doofusness stumbles in, and the night ends.

The next day, when she learns that Chelsea told Gerald all about their joke of a kiss, she isn't disappointed, not at all. She's just a little hurt, because she expected Chelsea to keep quiet about it, because that was what their entire conversation last night was about.

That's all.

//

The second time Chelsea kisses her, Janet still isn't expecting it.

Janet has tried to forget about the first kiss, to scrape it from her memory like some piece of old gum, and it works, for the most part. She convinces herself that it was nothing, and that Chelsea only did as a joke, which is good, because she doesn't want it to be anything more. She doesn't want Chelsea to kiss her again, she really doesn't.

Janet goes on dates, with yoga guy from her class (whose name is always slipping from her mind), and Raj even tries to step back into her life, but she decides she isn't in a place where she wants to be in a relationship. She wants to take the time to focus on her studies and career.

The second kiss happens two weeks after the first one, in the morning. Gerald is in the shower, and Janet is just finishing cooking breakfast (a rarity). It's Sunday though, and ever since she stopped going to church, she's missed the big brunch that always comes after the service. So, she's cooking cinnamon rolls (out of a pre-made tube, but it's still cooking), and she's making enough for all three of them. She's just pulling them out of the oven when Chelsea steps into the kitchen in, freshly showered and in a bathrobe.

"Hey Janet, it smells amazing in here," she says, moving up beside her. "Holy cow, are these the orange frosting ones! They're like the best thing ever," she says, giving Janet a huge smile. "Can I help put on the frosting?"

"Um, sure," Janet says, pulling out a second butter knife. They work quickly together, slathering on frosting until all the rolls are finished. They lick the remaining frosting off their knives, and Janet turns to thank Chelsea for helping out, but the words die on her lips because Chelsea looks absolutely stunning.

She's always been pretty, but before, Janet had always been too distracted by her obnoxious personality to notice. But now, up close, in the golden morning light, Janet can see why Gerald was so taken by her at first. Her cheek bones are high and regal, but also kind and smooth, her eyes are warm and deep, and her lips look soft and far more appealing to kiss than any boy's ever have.

"You've got a little frosting, just on the corner of the lips," Chelsea says, a smile crinkling the corners of her eyes.

"Here?" Janet asks, rubbing the side of her lips.

"No, it's--" and then she stops, and something changes in her expression. "Actually, let me get it for you," she says, stepping closer to Janet, until they're only a centimeter apart, and Janet can smell the lingering perfume of jasmine shampoo in Chelsea's damp hair. "It's right here," she whispers, delicately rubbing the skin on the corner of her lip. Janet's breath catches, and she can feel her heart thumping faster than it should. Her pulse is loud enough to ring in her ears, and she knows, she just knows that Chelsea must hear how she is reacting.

Chelsea's finger slowly moves from the corner of Janet's mouth, ghosting over her lip, until she lets it fall back down to her side. But then a moment later, Chelsea is shifting forward, and their lips slip into a kiss.

The kiss is longer this time, gentle and sweet, and it tastes like orange cream and cinnamon. It's a kind of kiss that Janet doesn't think she's ever quite had before.

But then it's over, and Chelsea is stepping back, a grin on her face. She giggles, and holds a finger to her own lips, in the international sign for 'quiet.' And then she's bounding away, telling Gerald to hurry up so that they can eat breakfast together.

For the rest of the day, the kiss haunts Janet, and she's not sure why because she is straight. Like, she's been obsessed with boys for as long as she can remember, and even just thinking about Raj and his dopey grin and tight-fitting button-downs and gorgeous, flawless skin, is enough to convince her of that a million times over. And she's never thought about girls before like that, never. Well, except for a few times, but those were nothing, just passing fantasies. Every straight girl has those occasionally, right?

So why did that kiss make her feel so warm and tingly?

They don't talk about the kiss, but Chelsea doesn't tell Gerald about it this time, and Janet wonders what that means.

//

The third time it happens, it's not Chelsea who kisses her first, nor is it Janet. They sorta just fall into it together.

It's only been a week since that second kiss, and it's late. Gerald is out doing boring Gerald things, and she and Chelsea both have had a glass of wine, and are working on their second. They're sitting on the same couch as that first time, in the same position. But this time, neither says anything at all.

Janet watches as Chelsea's hand slowly traces it's way up up her bare arm, burning the whole way up. It reaches her shoulder, and then her neck, and then her cheek, where it rests, gently cupping it. Janet looks into her her eyes and finds herself drowning, momentarily paralyzed by the woman before her.

And then their lips are sliding together.

It's a heated, open mouth kiss. It's a kiss that's not really just one kiss, but several together, bleeding into one long languid moment. It's the kind of kiss where Janet's hands find themselves wound in Chelsea's hair, pulling the other woman closer into her. It's the kind of kiss only meant for heated moments of passion, not as something you can pass off as a joke on your roommate.

They're too wrapped up into each other to hear a key slip into the door lock, and when the door opens they spring apart, looking guiltily in its direction. But Gerald's dorky face is looking down at his phone as he slouches into the room, and he doesn't seem to see or suspect a thing.

"Hey, did you know that a new ice-cream place opened up across the street?" he asks.

Janet uses the opportunity to excuse herself for the night, and she crawls into her bed, mind a swirl of confusing and conflicting thoughts. Because that kiss meant something, but she isn't sure just quite what.

Later that night, it most definitely does not break her heart into millions of little pieces when she hears Chelsea and Gerald giggling into the early hours of the morning, or when she hears moans from Chelsea that are just loud enough to seep in from the crack under her door

And once she finally falls asleep, she most definitely does not dream about Chelsea slipping out of Gerald's room to come into hers.

She doesn't.

//

Their next kiss after that isn't anything like that third kiss. Instead, it's a light little peck, just a quick goodbye more than anything, as Chelsea passes by Janet on her way out of the apartment.

And somehow, for some reason, it becomes a thing. Little pecks, cheeks and lips, in greeting and passing. At first it's just Chelsea (because it seems like Chelsea is always making the first move), but then Janet starts doing it, because God, she doesn't know what she wants from Chelsea, but she knows that she can't resist the temptation of her lips, even if it's just for a brief moment.

They begin to become friends too. Janet starts to find Chelsea's constant talking cute instead of annoying, and she starts to like it when Chelsea sneaks up behind her with those silent little feet of hers.

Gerald sees them kiss briefly as a greeting one day and he looks utterly confused, but Chelsea just giggles and tells him that it's a girl thing. Afterward, Gerald asks Janet when she became such good friends with Chelsea, and she just gives him a shrug and a mysterious smile.

For some reason though, they only ever kiss or even talk in the apartment, almost as if they are both aware that it isn't just some friendly gal pal thing, but don't want to admit it.

And when Janet touches herself, late at night, thinking back to that those kisses, she knows that she's utterly fucked and that she will never see Chelsea as just a 'gal pal' again.

//

It takes a month of those little pecks until something happens again to change things between them. It's not surprising that it takes this long for things to change though, because it's not often that they're both in the apartment together alone. Janet is busy with school and work, and Chelsea is busy with some sort of business venture involving rich people and fashion that Janet is still a little confused by.

She's about to leave to her parent's place, to pick up some old things to bring back to the apartment, when Chelsea asks to come with, since she's never seen the place. Janet doesn't see an issue with it. In fact, the prospect excites her, and sends butterflies fluttering in her stomach.

They walk over to the store, not walking hand-in-hand, but walking too close together to be mistaken as nothing more than acquaintances, or roommates.

"Janet," her appa calls out when she enters. "Who this?"

"My friend, Chelsea."

"Ah, okay. Nice to meet you, Chelsea."

"Same!"

She picks up her pace and drags Chelsea up the stairs behind her, eager to avoid any awkward conversation with him.

"So this is your childhood room?" Chelsea asks, as they step into the plain room.

"Yep."

"It's nice."

"Maybe, but I bet it's nothing compared to what you grew up with."

Chelsea shrugs and sits on the bed. "It's smaller, but there are lots of little details that make it special here. Like the family picture on your dresser, and the home-made curtains. I like it."

"I guess," Janet says, sitting down on the bed next to her.

"It's not the only nice thing about this room though," she says, shifting closer to Janet.

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

And then Chelsea's lips are on hers again, and Janet feels herself lean into the other woman. Her arms drift to Chelsea's sides and start to roam, and she can feel the hot press of Chelsea's hands on her own chest. Chelsea's hand slips just below the hem of her shirt and it starts burning a trail upwards against her bare skin, and--

The door swings open. Janet jumps back. The room is awkwardly silent as her umma steps in, looking at the two with wide eyes.

"Oh, ah, Janet. I just wanted to remind you to take your things from garage too. That's all," she says standing awkwardly in the door.

Chelsea speaks up. "It's nice to meet you, Janet's mother," she says with a smile that doesn't quite meet her eyes. She stands up, adjusting her clothes slightly. "I think I really need to get going though, I just remembered I have a lunch date with Gerald soon."

And then Chelsea is gone before anyone can speak another word, slipping past Janet's umma to leave the apartment.

Her umma gives her a hard look, lips drawn in a flat line. "What you doing with that girl, Janet?"

"It was nothing, Umma," Janet says, rolling her eyes. Her umma's expression doesn't change. "Fine. If you must know, we were just hugging, because we're close friends and all."

"I know what hugging is," she begins quietly, "but you not just hugging that girl."

"Yes I was, Umma. Why would you even think that I was doing anything else!"

Her umma gives her a long, soft look, before speaking quietly. "You know, it's okay if you are… gay, Janet. We figure it out. I never think you going to have kids anyways," she says with a smirk, "so I not disappointed."

"I'm not-- I'm not gay, Umma!" Janet stands up, not bothering to hide her anger. "And I'm leaving now."

Her umma doesn't bring it up again, and Janet isn't sure how she feels about that.

//

That weekend, Gerald goes away to visit is grandmother in Calgary who is sick.

It's late and Janet can't sleep (and as much as she doesn't want to admit it, the reason is Chelsea, because it's always Chelsea). Without a clear plan in mind, Janet leaves her room and raps on the door to the room Chelsea shares with Gerald. Chelsea's head pops out, hair tussled and face uncharacteristically bare of makeup.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"Wanna... come in?" Chelsea asks.

"Um, yeah. I do."

And then there's no going back.

//

Two nights later, Gerald is back from Calgary. Just after midnight, Chelsea opens the door to Janet's room and crawls into bed with her.

This time, they don't do anything at all but cuddle under the covers with gentle and warm touches until they fall asleep.

Janet's alarm goes off at five, and when she wakes up, Chelsea is already gone.

//

A month goes by of clandestine meetings, quiet embraces, and occasional hookups.

They talk a lot. Which is natural, because they're both talkative people. They talk about movies, and art, and politics, and whatever inane thoughts spring up in their minds. They talk about a lot of things, almost everything, really. But they don't talk about what's going on between them. That's one of the unspoken rules of their relationship (though Janet isn't even sure if it can even be called that). Janet is too scared to risk losing Chelsea by doing so, and she honestly has no clue how Chelsea feels about it.

It's wonderful, but it's also awful, and there's no hiding the fact that it makes her bounce between cloud nine and a terrible pit of anxiety.

She thinks that other people start to notice something is different (but not Gerald, never poor oblivious Gerald), and she should've known that Jung would be the first one to mention anything to her.

"So, that Chelsea girl. You sure talk about her a lot," Jung says, as the two walk back from a little Mexican restaurant, where he had taken her to celebrate the end of her semester.

"Yeah, well, she's like my best friend."

"I thought Gerald was your best friend."

"Yeah, that's what I meant," Janet says dismissively. "She's my best friend's girlfriend. But also my friend too," she adds quickly.

"Didn't you use to totally hate her?"

"Yes," she concedes, "but I may have been a little hasty in that. Why bring this up?"

"I don't know," Jung said, shrugging. "You just spent like all dinner talking about her, so I was curious."

"Curious about what?"

"Just if, you know…" he trails off.

"No, I don't know."

"Fine," he sighs. "I was curious to know if you maybe had… feelings for her."

"What," Janet scoffs. "That's like totally ridiculous, I don't, I definitely don't, and I'm like super straight anyways, like one-hundred percent straight, and if I wasn't why would I like her, I mean--"

"Janet?" Jung interrupted.

"What?"

"You're doing that thing where you give away your lie by protesting way too much."

Janet blushes, and shakes her head. "No I'm not, I'm just-- just upset that you're asking me such a ridiculous question."

"Right. So have you two kissed yet?"

Janet's jaw drops. "Wha--what?" she asked, her voice an octave too high. "What the hell, Jung? Why would you--"

"You've kissed her, haven't you?"

Janet is silent for a long moment, before shaking her head viciously. "You know what Jung, thanks for dinner, but I think I'm going to walk home by myself." Before she can stride away though, Jung reaches out and catches her arm.

"Janet, it's alright, really. It's totally cool if you like kissing girls. You know that, right?"

Janet doesn't move, doesn't make a sound.

"You'll still be the same annoying kid sister that I love for some reason I can't really figure out, no matter what," Jung says, meeting her restless eyes. "I can see that whatever's going on is clearly really fucking you up right now though, so do you want to talk about it?"

"I-- I don't know," Janet says softly. "I don't know, I just-- I didn't want this to happen," she says in a small voice. "I didn't-- I didn't want to like women. I didn't want to-- to do whatever this is with my best friend's roommate."

"So you did kiss her, right?'

Janet nods.

"Did she kiss you back?"

Janet lets out a broken laugh. "Jung, we've fucked. We were kissing for a while, and now we've been fucking for the last month."

"Shit."

"Yeah."

And then Janet tells him everything, including the part where she thinks that she might love her, but that she's sure Chelsea doesn't feel the same way.

Jung listens to it all, occasionally nodding and making a small comment, waiting until Janet is finished to say his piece.

"I don't have the answers for you, Janet, but I can tell you this. You know how much I like Shannon. It sucks, a lot, to hear her talk about Alejandro all day. Right now, I know that I don't have a chance with her, so I've just got to suck it up. But for you and this Chelsea girl? You've got a chance, you already know that she's somewhat into you. So go for it. Don't regret not going for it when you have the chance. And besides, if she's worth it, she'll leave him for you. And if she's not worth it, then you're better off not having your heart tugged around."

"Thanks Jung."

"Of course."

//

The next day, Janet asks Chelsea to get coffee during lunch with her.

She's spent the last twenty minutes talking about anything and everything but the one thing really on her mind, and she can tell by the worried look on Chelsea's face that it shows.

"Is everything alright?" Chelsea asks. "You've been sorta distracted today."

"Um, yeah. Everything's alright, but..."

"But?"

"I don't know, Chels. I just-- I want to be with you," Janet says, reaching out to hold her hands from across the table. "I want to be with you."

"You already are with me, silly."

"No, but I like want to really be with you. For real. Publicly."

"Janet..."

"I really like you, Chelsea. I want you to be my girlfriend. For real," Janet says, her heart pounding even harder than it had when she was thirteen and had asked Shane Ramirez out behind the swing set at the park. "So will you... be my girlfriend?"

"I don't know, Janet," Chelsea says softly. "Maybe? Can I have some time to think about it?"

"Of course."

And then Chelsea is gone, and Janet is left alone at the cafe (and she shouldn't be surprised-- even Shane Ramirez in eighth grade had turned her down).

After that, Janet doesn't hardly see Chelsea for a week.

All she can do is wait and try not to cry herself to sleep at night and hold onto a tender bit of hope that maybe things will turn out alright.

//

gear-bear: wtf chelsea just broke up with me

janet: isnt that a good thing i thought you didn't really like her

gear-bear: maybe but things have been so good the last week

gear-bear: i dont want everything to change

janet: um yeah but im sure chelsea will still be our friend

gear-bear: shes moving out

gear-bear: end of this week

gear-bear: shes moving back in with her family

//

janet: your moving out???

janet: chelsea?

janet: can you say something, please?

chelsea<3: just give me a little while okay?

chelsea<3: just promise me to wait for me

//

A week later Janet gets another text from Chelsea.

chelsea: meet me for lunch at noon at that coffee shop again?

janet: ill be there

//

Janet gets to the coffee shop thirty minutes early and waits out by the back of the building. A woman with short hair and a denim jacket is smoking there and offers her a cigarette, which Janet accepts hesitantly. They don't talk, but the woman looks at her knowingly, as if she can see Janet's anxieties written all over her face. The woman leaves after a little while, and then at five 'til, Janet finally walks into the coffee shop. She finds Chelsea already sitting at a little table by a window, picking at her nails, cappuccino already finished. She looks as beautiful and made-up as ever, but she's more subdued than usual.

"Hey," Janet says softly, sliding into the seat across from her.

Chelsea looks up in surprise, a jumbled mess of emotions on her face. "Hey."

"So, um. It's good to see you again," Janet ventures.

"Yeah, it's good to see you again too. Really good," Chelsea adds, a shy smile on her face. There's a layer of nervousness under the smile though, and Janet can't think of a time she's ever seen Chelsea quite like this. Now that she's closer, Janet can notice subtle cracks in her appearance that aren't usually there. Mascara applied just a bit too heavily, hair-line cracks in her foundation. Like she had shaky hands this morning, and was too nervous to be as methodical as usual.

And it's not that it detracts from her appearance at all. But it does make Janet's heart pang, because Chelsea is clearly not her normal self. Not that Janet is either, because she's sure she looks like just as much as a nervous wreck.

"So," Janet begins, "as much as I'd love to catch up. I'm not sure if my heart can wait any longer. What did you decide?"

Chelsea takes in a deep breath. "I'm... I'm gay."

Janet can't help but feel a burst of nervous laughter escape. "Um, yeah?"


"Yeah," Chelsea says with a nervous laugh herself. "But I'm like, gay. Like exclusively into women."

"Oh."

"Yeah. I think I've known for a long while, but I haven't-- I haven't been able to admit it to myself, really. Not until you came along at least. And my parents are like super homophobic, so I kinda grew up that way too. So it's been really tough," she says, thumbs idly tracing the rim of her empty coffee cup. "But I think I'm finally ready to accept that part of myself."

"That's really great, Chels."

"Yeah. I, um, told my parents today."

"You did?" Janet asks, butterflies racing in her chest.

"Yeah. They, um," Chelsea says, suddenly fighting back tears, "they kicked me out when I told them."

"Chels..."

"Yeah," she says, giving a little half-sob half-laugh. "I, um, also told them I was seeing someone."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah, " Chelsea says, a shy grin on her face now. "This cute Korean girl studying photography. I think her name was Eiu Kyung or something like that?"

Janet blushes. "Well this Eiu Kyung girl, which is a great name by the way, is really lucky to be dating you."

"Yeah," Chelsea says, reaching her hands out to hold Janet's. "But I think I'm the lucky one."

"Well you should show her then. Kiss her, or something."

"Yeah?"

"Yeah."

And then Chelsea is out of her seat and next to Janet and her lips are crashing down onto hers and everything feels right again.

"So, um," Chelsea says, breaking away, her cheeks pink. "This is an awkward question, but do you think maybe... I could move back in with you? And like, I know this is super fast, and I don't want to U-haul it--"

"U-haul?"

"Oh please Janet, you had your queer awakening months ago by now, get up to speed," she says with a snort. "But since my parents kicked me out, I don't have much money, and though I don't necessarily want to move in with my girlfriend super quick, I kinda need a place to live. And it's technically still my apartment too since I haven't removed my name on the lease yet, and I'd be totally cool even with sleeping on the couch or something, but I don't want to do it if it would make you uncomfortable, so just--"

"Chelsea," Janet interrupts with a small smile, "I wouldn't mind it at all." Her smile fades. "But it's also Gerald's apartment, so we'd have to talk to him. And if he says no, he says no."

"Yeah, I get that," Chelsea says with a sigh. "It'll be awkward having a third wheel around, but he's alright I guess."

"You know, that's how I used to feel about you being with Gerald all the time."

"Oh really?"

"Yep."

"Well then, I guess we know how this story plays out. Gerald and I start a clandestine affair under your nose!" Chelsea giggles.

"Oh please, Gerald couldn't keep anything secret if his life depended on it."

"That's what we used to say about you. And what you two used to say about me."

"Fair enough," Janet laughs. "So... you want to come over and talk with him tonight?"

Chelsea's nose wrinkles. "Not really, but yeah, we kind of need to."

"Alright. My place at five then?"

"Our place at five."

"If Gerald agrees."

"If Gerald agrees," Chelsea says, rolling her eyes.

//

A few minutes before five, Janet comes out of the bathroom to find Gerald opening the front door for Chelsea.

"Chelsea?" he asks. "What are you doing here?"

"Hey, um, Gerald," she says awkwardly.

"So... what's up?"

"There are just a few things that I, um, need to talk to you about. And Janet too."

"Hey Chelsea!" Janet says, stepping up to the door as well. "Hey Gerald, do you think that maybe we could move this over to the couch?"

"Oh, sure I guess," Gerald says, looking back over his shoulder at Janet.

The three settle down into the couch and armchairs, awkwardly not knowing where to start.

"So, I guess I should just get it out there now," Chelsea says, eyes flicking between the two of them. "I've always thought you were a nice guy and all Gerald, but, I'm, um-- I'm gay. Like exclusively into women," Chelsea says, looking at the ground.

"Oh, I guess that's why we never had sex or anything," Gerald says casually, looking not at all surprised.

"You never had sex!" Janet exclaims.

Gerald blushes slightly. "Um, no. we didn't."

"What were those sounds I would hear at night then?"

Gerald shrugs. "What sounds?"

"You know, the moaning and giggling?"

"Oh," Chelsea interrupts. "I think I know what you're talking about. I'm pretty sure that was just us watching comedies on Netflix, and eating ice-cream."

"But moaning?"

"We really like our ice-cream," Gerald adds. "And besides, you walked around moaning and massage-kikeying yourself, or whatever it was called."

"Fair point," Janet concedes.

"But anyways," Gerald says, "so you're gay? That's cool I guess."

"The next part's not so cool though," Chelsea replies hesitantly. "Janet and I, um. We kinda started seeing each other. While I was still dating you. And now, we're officially a couple," she says, shooting Janet a shy smile.

Gerald blinks for a moment, before shaking his head. "So my supposedly super straight best friend secretly dated my apparently gay girlfriend behind my back for months?"

"Yeah?"

"Life really is crazy," he says with an airy smile.

"Sorry?"

"Oh, nothing. I'm just kinda amazed by the absurdity of it all. Man, sometimes life feels like a sit-com."

Chelsea interrupts. "So are you like, mad or something?"

"Actually? No. It just kinda makes sense now. The kissing between you two in particular."

"Yeah," Janet agrees with a little chuckle. "So are we okay? Because you're like my best friend ever."

"Yeah, we're fine," Gerald says amiably.

"There was one other thing," Janet adds. "Chelsea needs a place to stay since her parents kicked her out. And we were wondering if she could stay here with us? But only if you were okay with it of course."

"Yeah, that'd actually be really great," Gerald says with a slight smile. "I miss the way things were with her around the apartment too."

"Really?"

"Really," he confirms. "Anyways," he says, standing up, "this has all been a lot, so I think I'm going to go get some ice-cream. You two want anything?"

"Um, no, I'm fine, thanks," Janet responds.

"I'll take my usual," Chelsea chimes in.

"Sure thing!"

And like that Gerald is out the door.

"I think that went well," Chelsea comments.

"As well as it could," Janet agrees.

"Now," Chelsea says, "we should have your parents over for dinner sometime since we're finally dating!"

And Janet is reminded that she hasn't told them yet.

Fuck.

It's a good thing they stock plenty of wine and it's good thing she's got a pretty girl to drink it with now, because she's pretty sure she's gonna need a whole lot of both for the coming week.

It's not the love story she wanted. But Janet is pretty sure it's better than anything she ever imagined, and it's certainly better than Raj.

And even if she does have to put up with those silent little feet of hers and the constant talking, Chelsea makes her happy, and that's all that matters.