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can we always be this close (forever and ever)?

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Sterling’s dreams are surprisingly unremarkable, given the fact that she went to bed high on painkillers. Almost all of them involve doing something pleasant with April, which she suspects has something to do with the fact that she’s been wrapped in her arms all night.

Oh no.

In any other scenario than the one in which she is being shaken awake by her irate mother, Sterling might be happy to have April contentedly jetpacking her.

“Sterling Pearl Wesley, April Elizabeth Stevens, you get up right now,” Debbie says angrily.

“Nooo, five more minutes,” April says, half asleep, and holds Sterling tighter, nuzzling into her neck.

Sterling’s eyes shoot open, fully comprehending how much trouble she’s in when she sees her mom in that hands-on-hips stance. “This is not what it looks like,” she says, voice still deep from sleep, but even she knows this is a weak excuse with April currently clinging onto her like a koala. “Baby,” she says, gently pulling April’s arms off of her so she can get out of the bed, forgetting two important details in the process. One, she is not wearing pants. And two, she has a grade 2 sprained ankle. “Mary Mother of God!” she curses, feeling every bit of the pain of putting all of her weight on her foot without the boot, and it’s a miracle she doesn’t fall over and instead just sits back down on the bed.

This does, however, finally bring April back into the world of the living.

“Oh God, Sterl,” she says, seeing what’s happened and immediately jumping into action, grabbing the boot from the foot of the bed and going around to help Sterling put it back on.

“You girls have about ten seconds to tell me what in God’s name happened last night,” Debbie says threateningly, though her tone has lost some of its edge upon seeing Sterling’s injury.

“Sterling had an accident at work,” April explains, kneeling down and fastening the boot tightly. “I was just in here to make sure she got to bed okay and I guess I fell asleep,” she’s playing this off as a harmless mistake, and amazingly, Debbie seems to be buying it. Though even she must recognize that the two of them doing anything last night seems unlikely with Sterling’s sprain looking just as painful as it feels.

Debbie sighs, pinching the bridge of her nose. She’s been dealing with these kinds of antics for going on nineteen years, after all. “Did you at least use your insurance card at the hospital?”

“Of course.” Sterling nods.

“And you’re okay? Nothing’s broken? Hopefully, that won’t have to be incorporated into the wedding?” Debbie’s last question is laced with a lot of hope as she points to the boot.

“We can only pray,” April answers for her, getting back up on her feet and kissing Sterling’s cheek. “Now, I have to meet up with our wedding coordinator today to finalize the last few details regarding our rehearsal dinner. Debbie, you’re free to join me but I think Sterl had better take it easy today.”

“I would love that, April. And on the drive over, you can explain to me why you were taking off in the truck in the middle of the night,” Debbie says sweetly, and at April’s stunned face, she adds, “Mom ears. You’ll understand when you have kids someday.” She pats April on the shoulder and begins to lead her out of the room. “Sterling, if you can’t stand in the shower, you’re welcome to use the tub in mine and your dad’s bathroom, but either way, clean yourself up.”

“Yes, Mommy,” Sterling says in an age-regressed voice, a direct result of being scolded by her mom like a small child, and feeling like her ankle is hurting more and more by the second.

With that, Debbie and April are gone, leaving Sterling to hobble to her bathroom for a Tylenol or four. She’s surprised by Blair, who’s already brushing her hair. 

“Ah. Mom woke you guys up too, I see,” she says, yanking at a tangle. “Like, I get she couldn’t wait to yell about breaking curfew and premarital bed-sharing, but couldn’t it wait until...I don’t know, 10?” Blair sets down her brush and turns to look Sterling in the eye. “What did you tell April last night after she took you upstairs?”

“Honestly, it’s all kinda fuzzy, but I know I stuck with our story,” Sterling says, opening the medicine cabinet and retrieving the sacred Tylenol. She knows she also promised April she would quit bounty hunting—even if April doesn’t know what job she was referring to—but that’s a conversation she’ll have to ease into with Blair.

“Well, good. You know she’d tell mom, being her mini-me and all that.” Blair grabs Sterling’s stick of deodorant and applies it liberally to her armpits.

“Ew! You’re gonna cover it in your gross sweat!” Sterling says, snatching it away.

“Oh please, we used to intentionally infect each other when one of us got sick so that we both could stay home from school together,” Blair reminds her, and the memory of how they achieved this is enough to make Sterling want to gag in hindsight.

“Irregardless, I don’t want your germs anymore, especially not since you’ve pretty much made out with every gross boy in our high school,” Sterling says, sniffing her own armpits to determine if she can get away with not taking a bath. Hard nope. “Okay, well, I’m gonna go take a bath, I guess,” she says, reaching into her shower to grab her shampoo and conditioner.

“Use some of mom’s expensive products for me,” Blair calls after her as she heads down the hall as if she hadn’t already intended on it.


By noon, Sterling is ready for a nap, both due to her whopping five hours of sleep she was allowed by her mother, the early riser, and the fact that Blair has a soccer game on the TV--and it’s not even the US team!

“Why do you even care about a game between Puerto Rico and Honduras? Can’t we just binge something on Netflix?” she whines from where she has laid out a pillow and a blanket on the floor. 

“Because there is a non-zero chance that one of these teams could play the US next week,” Blair replies as if the answer is so obvious. “But if you can get up and take the remote from me, then we can watch whatever you want to watch. Besides, I’m being nice enough to let you borrow my phone.”

Sterling grumbles as she’s not in a position to walk right now, let alone take something from Blair. She knows that if April were here, she’d wrestle that remote away for her. And speaking of her lovely knight in shining armor, 

Blair 🤡: Hi, it’s Sterling. Blair’s letting me use her phone until I can get a new one.

She-Devil 👹: Hey there, cutie. How’re you holding up?

Sterling smiles to herself, knowing she’s basically the only person in the world April is capable of being nice to.

Blair 🤡: Hanging in there. Blair’s making me watch sports.

She-Devil 👹: That bitch!

She-Devil 👹: But seriously, do you want me to get you anything on our way home in a bit?

She-Devil 👹: Food, ice packs, maybe some kind of blunt object to hit Blair with?

As she said, Sterling is the only person April is capable of being nice to. Hence her contact name in Blair’s phone.

Blair 🤡: All of the above?

She-Devil 👹: You got it. Chipotle sound good?

Blair 🤡: Yes pwease

She-Devil 👹: 😘😘😘

Sterling puts down the phone on her chest and actually has a smile on her face. April being sweet is a rare but amazing thing. Though, granted, Sterling can imagine she’ll be less inclined to remain sweet if Sterling doesn’t go through with quitting her job as quickly as possible.

“Hey Blair?” she asks, curious now.

“Yeah?”

“Bowser will be okay without us once we’re gone, right?”

“I mean, yeah. He was doing just fine without us before we teamed up. Granted, he might have to set up a few more skip traps without his runner or his gunner by his side, but he’ll be alright. And if nothing else, Yolanda will totally take care of him,” Blair replies thoughtfully. “Why?”

Sterling shrugs her shoulders. “I dunno,” she lies, “Just wondering about the future.”

“Well, I know that if whatever degree I get doesn’t translate to money, but above all, satisfaction, then I always have a fallback. And so do you.” She punctuates her sentence by shoving a handful of bottom-of-the-bag Doritos crumbles into her mouth like a horse feedbag.

“That’s real ladylike,” Sterling says sarcastically.

“Oh, I know,” Blair says, finishing off the bag and crumpling it into a ball. “But anyway, I’m sure Bowser will be fine without us financially, but emotionally? He’ll be crushed. Not outwardly, of course, but like...I can tell he’s sad about us leaving in a few weeks. It’s a good thing we can help him with a few more skips while we can, right?”

“Yeah, good thing…” Sterling says quietly. “I’m not sure how I’m going to be of much help with my leg all busted up, though.”

“As I said, I’m the runner and you’re the gunner. All you gotta do is hang back and shoot stuff when we tell you to.” Blair shrugs. “I mean, that skip tackling you last night was a total fluke.” 

“Yeah, I guess…” Sterling says, thinking that in the past two weeks as being nothing but the gunner, she’s been attacked by a skip and been forced to shoot another. If April knew about even half of that, she’d be marching down to Yogurtopia to put in Sterling’s notice herself. “Hey, can we maybe go get me a new phone from Best Buy at some point today? I’d rather not continue having a conversation with She-Devil.”

Blair chuckles. “Glad you’re finally seeing the light,” she says as Sterling rolls her eyes. “But yeah, sure. I was gonna stop by Yogurtopia anyway to see if Bowser and Yolanda have anything for us.”

“Great,” Sterling says to herself and begins the painstaking process of getting on her feet from this position without putting much weight on her bad foot--lying on the floor was a bad idea. “You wanna go then?”

“Now?” Blair asks, raising an eyebrow. “But the game’s not over yet!”

“Well, that’s too dang bad. You shouldn’t have stomped on my phone last night,” Sterling says pointedly.

“Oh my God, it’s not like I did it on purpose! It was dark and iPhones have gotten way too thin,” Blair complains but turns off the TV anyway. She leads the way out to the foyer, but they both stop when they come across their dad digging through the hall closet that definitely only contains jackets and boardgames.

“Uh, hi Dad. What are you doing?” Blair asks, cocking her head to the side.

“I’m lookin’ for that Thomas Kinkade Peter Pan puzzle y’all got for Christmas a few years back,” he replies, sounding a little loopy.

Sterling turns to Blair.

“You think he’s high on duck fumes again?”

“Oh, definitely. But that’s good because Mom definitely told him to not let us leave the house today.”

“So what, are we grounded? That’s ridiculous!”

“I know dude but the key takeaway here is that our only supervision is this version of Dad.”

“You’re so right.” Sterling smiles at him helpfully and grabs the puzzle in question from the top of the stack, handing it over. “There ya go, Daddy.”

“Aw, thank you, Princess!” he says, looking at the picture on the front while walking off to the dining room table.

“See what I mean?” Blair says, amused, and they make it out the front door without incident.


Sterling’s phone has just finished gathering her information from the cloud from when they arrive at Yogurtopia. “Thank God for technology. I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost my pictures,” she says, scrolling through and smiling at all of the couple's selfies of her and April dating back to Christmas 2020. And the one of her and Blair as Christmas elves with Santa’s sidepiece (Yolanda), a fun reminder of what was hands down the most fun bounty they ever collected. Seeing it now, when Sterling knows what has to happen, is enough to make her feel almost conflicted.

“You got any pictures of Little Luke on there?” Blair asks, waggling her eyebrows, and Sterling quickly realizes what she means.

“Oh God no! And even if I ever did, I would have deleted them a long time ago. Keeping your ex’s nudes feels like cheating when you’re about to get married,” Sterling firmly denies doing anything of the sort. Because even if she did ever request that sort of thing, it’s not like Luke would have even felt comfortable with it. The boy wears a swim shirt at the pool, for Pete’s sake.

“Really? Because I have a whole folder in my phone,” Blair says, pulling hers out. “You would not believe the birthmark Owen’s got. It looks like a little dick on a surprisingly big dick,” she starts to scroll for it, but as intrigued as Sterling is to see such a curiosity, she has to pass.

“Yeah, no thank you. I’ll just take your word for it,” she says, opening her door to get out of the car.

“Your loss. Now I’ll never tell you who has the biggest penis in our graduating class. I’ll give you a hint: Chess team.” Blair gets out and shuts her car door.

“Tyler Sorensen,” Sterling says nonchalantly, naming the only boy on the chess team she knows her sister at the very least made out with a few times. Though having this knowledge of his more intimate parts is more disconcerting than she’d thought. “Oh man, I didn’t need to know that.” She hobbles after Blair, who holds the shop door open for her.

“Seriously. Absolutely enormous,” Blair says as Sterling passes by her, laughing as Sterling shudders. “Hey there, Bowser. What’s crackalackin’?” she greets him, practically skipping up to the counter where their partner stands unamused at the register.

“Not much. Busy cleaning up the mess y’all made for me last night by breaking that skip’s glasses,” Bowser says pointedly at Blair.

“He broke Sterling’s phone! And Sterling! That means he doesn’t deserve to see 20/20 in a holding cell,” Blair says stubbornly.

“Blair...please promise me you’ll never be a cop, alright?” Bowser says, dead serious. “Anyway, I got y’all’s cut from Yolie right here,” he says, pulling out two wads of cash and handing them over. It’s nothing on the level of the $5000 they got from the armed computer hacker, but it’ll buy April her lightsaber.

“Great! You got anything else brewing?” Blair asks, pushing past Bowser to go into the backroom, and Sterling has no choice but to follow, actually quite glad she can sit on the couch in there.

“Well, now that you mention it,” Bowser says, following them in and closing the door behind him, “Do you remember Kendra St. John?”

Sterling and Blair rack their brains, the name sounding so familiar, but so much has happened in the last two years.

“Is that the con artist sales lady? The one with the lackey in the pink Caddy?” Sterling says finally, giggling at her own rhyme.

“Oh yeah! The one who got away and you, Bowser, wouldn’t let us go after her!” Blair says accusingly. “What about her?”

“Well, she seems to be back in Atlanta. I’ve got confirmed sightings, so I know it’s not her little assistant this time around. Since our last time going after her, she’s had three more phony businesses. The latest one is boxes of frozen meat that she claims are high-quality steaks, when in all actuality, you’re probably getting goat or guinea pig or whatever else that’s cheap and technically edible,” Bowser explains, showing the updated file on Kendra to the twins.

“That’s so dumb. All she’d have to do to that stuff is take it to the southern end of the state and tell the swamp people exactly what’s in the box. I guarantee she’d even make more money that way,” Sterling says.

“What do you need us to do?” Blair asks eagerly, leaning forward with her elbows on her knees.

“Slow your roll, there’s no ‘us’ happening except right in this room,” Bowser says, and Blair’s face falls while Sterling feels a twinge of relief. “Now, y’all are goin’ off to school in a few weeks anyway, and I think in light of Sterling’s injury, it might be best if the two of you take early retirement.”

“What?!” Blair shrieks. “You can’t do that to us! After all we’ve done for you, you’re just gonna get rid of us like one of Taylor Swift’s beards?”

Bowser shakes his head. “I have no goddamn idea what that means, but I’m not getting rid of y’all. You should know by now how much I care about you and it’s because of that that I have to end this. But we’ve had a couple of close calls recently and I could never forgive myself if something serious were to happen to either of you,” he explains, letting down his guard more than Sterling thinks she’s witnessed in a while.

“Aw, Bowser,” she says, feeling loved (and so relieved to not have to quit on her own accord).

However, Blair isn’t having it, because of course she isn’t. “This is bullshit. It’s not like the job hasn’t been dangerous this whole time.”

“Yeah, well, one of you wasn’t in a foot cast until recently,” he says, looking over at Sterling. “It’s a liability.”

Sterling nods. “Yeah, I know it is.” This is probably as good a time as any to come clean, as when she turns to Blair, she notices her sister is clearly on the verge of arguing with this and sighs. “Blair, I know it sucks to cut all of this short. I’ve had...the absolute best time of my life doing this with you. But all good things have to come to an end. I mean, I’m getting married in three weeks, and—”

“—And God forbid you do anything to upset Little Miss Susie Homemaker,” Blair says, rolling her eyes. “Don’t try to pretend this is anything other than what it is, Sterl. You’ve been gearing up to ditch me for your little wifey from the day you bought that damn ring.” Blair shakes her head and laughs in disgust.

Sterling clenches her fists, Blair’s smug attitude toward her impending marriage, but more importantly, April herself, hitting a nerve. “I can barely walk and my fiancée is concerned about me continuing to do the job that got me hurt in the first place. And you know what? I can’t blame her. She seems a lot more concerned about me than you.”

Bowser awkwardly backs toward the door. “Maybe I should just leave you girls to talk this out,” he says, leaving them to it.

Blair bites her lip and seems to be trying to contain herself from a bigger outburst. “I’m your sister. I have shared everything with you since the day we were born, and you know what? I never worried about losing you when you were with Luke. But April...she’s got you in her clutches and you seem too stupid to realize it. Don’t you get that she wants to drive a wedge between us?”

Sterling crosses her arms, knowing in her heart that that isn’t true; Blair just hasn’t witnessed April’s understanding side in the last few months. But now, Sterling is suddenly feeling an urge to say something she’s been holding in for a long time in the fear of hurting her sister’s feelings. “You’re a bad feminist!” she says, pointing her finger accusingly at Blair (who gasps). “You always talk about how women should be able to do what they want to do and love who they love, but when it comes to April, all you ever try to do is put her down.”

“Because before you started trying to stick your tongue down her throat at every opportunity, she used to do that to us. You may have selective memory, but I sure as shit don’t. Not when it’s blatantly obvious that April hasn’t changed at all. She’s the worst and she always has been, you’re just too...well, I’d call you pussy-whipped, but I know you aren’t getting any.”

Sterling sees red and launches herself at Blair, frenzied hands flying. “You don’t fucking talk about her like that!” The swear leaves her lips easier than she ever thought possible as she smacks at Blair. “You’re just jealous because you don’t have anyone!” It’s something Sterling would never say in any other circumstance, but she’s not exactly thinking about sparing Blair’s feelings right now.

“Yeah, well, if I were with a guy who acts even a little like April, I sure as fuck wouldn’t marry him ,” Blair says defiantly, shoving at Sterling to keep her from landing any fade shots, “And what the hell would you know about feminism? You’ve spent your whole life under the command of Dad, and instead of going out and doing something great, you’re settling down at eighteen with someone else who is going to do nothing but tell you what to do for the rest of your life!”

Sterling breathes through her teeth. “You are such a hypocrite. How many times did I get ignored by you for one of your stupid boyfriends, and they weren’t even the love of your life; April is mine. You don’t even know how to be in love.” This has been something she’s despised since they were preteens. Blair has never had a problem with casting her aside, but God forbid she has to share any of Sterling’s time or attention.

“I cannot believe I agreed to be a part of this ridiculous spectacle that you call a wedding,” Blair says dejectedly, tears actually beginning to fall from her eyes. “All I’m doing is watching how, little by little, you care less about me and more about her. She’s consuming you, Sterling. She wants to change the parts of you that I love the most and you’re just letting her!”

“I’m growing up, Blair!” Sterling snaps. “We’re not the same person! We can’t just pretend like we’ll always be the same little twins who would sleep in each other’s beds during thunderstorms. We need our own lives and I thought you accepted that when you decided to go to UNC.” Sterling still vividly remembers her heart shattering when Blair broke the news to her that she couldn’t turn down a scholarship there when UGA doesn’t even have a competitive lacrosse team. She understood why it had to happen, but she never thought she’d see the day that having a few hundred miles between them could be a good thing. Until now, that is.

“I wanted one last summer where we could just be us, and you couldn’t even give me that because you’ve been too caught up in April’s web. And one day, you are going to finally see her for what she is: a cruel, selfish person who only likes you because you’re the first girl dumb enough to get with the most homophobic lesbian in the history of the world.” Blair is breathing heavily, having managed to say all of that in one breath. 

Sterling loses it again, ignoring the pain it causes her ankle to tackle Blair to the floor, punching away—though certainly not as hard as she could—and earning a few slugs of her own in return. “I hate you!”

“I hate you more!” Blair shouts, pulling Sterling’s hair.

Through the pain and the blind rage, Sterling hears Bowser and Yolanda talking from the doorway.

“Uh, should we stop this?” Bowser asks, sounding unsettled, and Sterling supposes he has every right to be once she bites Blair’s arm to get her to stop pulling her hair.

Yolanda can only scoff at this suggestion. “Dios mío, no! You do not wanna get in the middle of a girl fight unless you want your eyes gouged out.”

“Fair enough...this reminds me of you and Michelle, just with less Spanish,” Bowser says, still seeming uncomfortable with the idea of letting Sterling and Blair duke it out any longer, but he doesn’t have to worry about that once Sterling gets tired of the nonsense and breaks away to get on her feet, smoothing her hair.

“You know what, Blair? I’m done! I’m done with your terrible attitude, I’m done with the fact that you aren’t even trying to like April. I’m done with all of it!” Sterling’s chest is heaving as she stares at Blair belligerently.

Blair chuckles, standing as well. “You know what, fine. I’m done too. I’m done with your stupid wedding circus. I’m done as your maid of honor, I quit.”

“You can’t quit because I’m firing you! You’re the last person I’d want up there with me anyway since you can’t even support me as my twin,” Sterling says, scrabbling for an insult to make Blair hurt the way she’s hurting right now.

“Well, I’m not even your twin, so that works out just fine by me,” Blair says coldly, bumping into Sterling’s shoulder as she passes her and walks out of the stock room and—Sterling can only assume—the yogurt shop in general.

What just transpired was worse than any scenario Sterling could have ever anticipated. If she had been throwing barbs at Blair, then Blair had caught the last one and thrown it right back into Sterling’s heart.

For a moment, Sterling can’t even focus on her own pain because Bowser’s froyo machine sounds wheezy and on its last legs. 

“Hey, why don’t you sit down, Bowser will get you some water.” Yolanda is talking in a low voice and steering Sterling towards the couch but weirdly, the wheezing doesn’t get quieter. If anything, it’s getting louder.

Then it hits her, Sterling is the one making that sound. It feels like she’s trying to breathe around an axe lodged in her chest.

“I-I have to go,” she stammers finally, standing up despite Bowser and Yolanda’s silent protests. She has to get out of this room. She has to get out of here.

Sterling’s all the way to the parking lot when she realizes that Blair has left her stranded without a ride home. Her hands are shaking as she pulls out her phone to call April, who thankfully answers on the first ring.

“Sterl, you better have a good explanation for why you aren’t at home resting,” she says without so much as a hello, but her helicopter fiancee act is actually somewhat comforting right now.

“I’m at Yogurtopia. Can you come get me?” Sterling asks in a small voice.

To her relief, April seems to sense that this is not the time to ask questions. “I’m on my way.”

“Thank you,” Sterling says and hangs up the phone, putting it in her pocket. She knows it’ll be a few minutes until April gets here, even if she speeds, but she can’t bring herself to go back inside and be pitied. So she limps over to the mural wall and slides down it into an almost fetal position, hugging her knees to her chest and trying to not cry in public.


It’s only when Sterling gets into the truck and April asks her what happened that she finally fully allows herself to break down into nothing but tears and sobs. All her life, she and Blair have been a package deal--they were even born on the same leap day, after all--and thinking that that time has come to an end has left Sterling feeling as if she’s had half of her heart torn away.

“You don’t have to tell me what happened,” April says reassuringly, pulling her into a hug and rubbing her back. “But if you did, I think I’d probably be in a better position to help?”

Sterling sniffles and pulls away to wipe at her eyes. “I don’t think this can be helped,” she says and breaks down crying again.

April sighs and puts the truck in gear, pulling out onto the road. “Well, at the very least, I could try to make you feel better?” She sneaks a glance over at Sterling and offers her a cautious smile.

All Sterling can think is this is not the succubus demon her sister seems to think she is. She’s seen April at her worst, but she’s also seen how capable she is of showing a level of compassion nobody would expect from her. 

“Well...I think our wedding parties might be a little uneven now,” Sterling says finally, really not wanting to have to elaborate further.

“Blair? Because you quit your job?” April asks, and Sterling nods. “Well, as I’ve told you before, you guys will work it out. You’re too close not to.”

“This time was different,” Sterling says, looking for the package of kleenex she knows her dad keeps in the glove compartment. “We both said some things that I don’t think can be taken back.” She blows her nose into a tissue, making a sound like a baby elephant. “She said things about you that can’t be taken back,” she adds and watches April’s facade of being the loving and supportive future spouse drop for just a millisecond.

April straightens her posture in her seat. “Well, it’s no secret that she and I don’t exactly see eye to eye. But I’m a big girl and at the end of the day, I don’t want Blair’s distaste for me to come between the two of you. I don’t know if my conscience could handle it.” She drives past the turnoff into Sterling’s family’s gated community, so wherever they’re going is officially a mystery now. “Plus, I know that one Wesley Twin without the other is like...Diet Coke without Mentos.” At Sterling’s look of bewilderment, April elaborates, “Which is to say that on your own, you’re safer and certainly more palatable, but the chemical reaction that comes from the two of you is chaotic and classic. The world would be a little less fun without it.”

Sterling thinks this weird analogy is perhaps the first time April has spoken positively about her and her sister’s relationship, but it’s too late to make any difference, and the mention of being a twin when they both know she is not has her feeling gutted all over again, but she doesn’t want to let that be known to April. “Can I be the Diet Coke in this equation?” she asks in an attempt to lighten the mood as April pulls into the parking lot of a playground, currently devoid of children.

“You can be whichever you want, Sterl,” April says, parking and killing the engine.

“What are we doing here?” Sterling asks but gets no answer as April gets out of the truck and makes a beeline for the large swing set. Seeing as she apparently has no choice, Sterling gets out and follows her, taking a seat in the swing beside her fiancée as she starts swinging her legs back and forth to build momentum.

“Remember when you’d have to push me because my legs were too short for me to swing high?” April reminds her of a time so very far-removed from now.

“Not like they’re much longer now…” Sterling grumbles, planting her good foot in the wood chips beneath her and slowly rocking back and forth.

April laughs one unamused, “Ha,” but smiles to herself, and then, absolutely bewildering to Sterling, starts to list off names every time she swings forward. “Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes…”

“April, why are you naming presidents?” Sterling asks, smiling, despite herself, for the first time since the yogurt shop.

“Republican presidents,” April corrects her, and it clicks in Sterling’s head what she’s doing. “James Garfield, Chester Arthur, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt…” April continues, smirking down at her as she’s now begun swinging as high as possible without assistance.

“Why are you doing this?” Sterling asks again, undeniably impressed that April apparently did manage to memorize them all in fifth grade—she even remembered Chester Arthur, and nobody remembers Chester Arthur.

“It’s distracting you, isn’t it?” April asks, stilling her legs and allowing herself to slowly come to a halt—Sterling supposes she’s not about to use the brake method when she’s wearing good shoes, as opposed to the light-up Skechers she used to rock.

“A little, I guess,” Sterling admits, nodding. “But it also reminds me that I was such a jerk to you as a kid, all because Blair told me to.” In her 20/20 hindsight, she knows now that Blair would have never been okay with her relationship with April, no matter what the circumstances were.

“Well it’s a good thing I’m a very forgiving person,” April says without a hint of irony, and Sterling scoffs. “What?”

“You are the least forgiving person!” Sterling says, in disbelief that she even has to.

April rolls her eyes. “Okay, fine, I’m forgiving when it comes to you,” she specifies, begrudgingly. “Why did you have to go do that today, by the way? The last thing we need is you potentially hurting yourself worse.”

“Because it needed to be done.” Sterling shrugs. “Plus I really needed to get a new phone and Blair took the opportunity to stop by and talk to Bowser. How did the stuff with the wedding coordinator go?” She needs another distraction and for once, mundane wedding details sound like the most enticing topic of conversation ever.

“It went well. I just had to finalize the catering situation since your mom and dad said we had to find something cheaper for the rehearsal. You liked that one Italian place we tried way back when, right?” April asks, seeming pleasantly surprised to have not had to bring this up herself.

“It was great, yeah,” Sterling says, barely remembering their preliminary candidates at all, save for that place’s tiramisu. “Hey, April?”

“Yeah?” she asks, finally coming to a complete stop.

“You think we’re going to be good at being married, right?” Sterling is beginning to doubt her own ability to be a good wife when she can’t even be a good sister and she’s been trying at that for eighteen years.

“Oh, of course not,” April answers a little too quickly. “But, I think we’re awesome at loving each other,” she says like a bigger cheesehead than a Green Bay Packers fan. “That has to count for something, right?”

“You’re such a dork,” Sterling says, swinging to the side to bump into April’s hip. As much as Sterling loves her sister and is completely devastated by the turn of events that transpired today, she knows in her heart that nothing in the world, not even appeasing Blair, could make her give this up. “Have you written your vows yet?”

“Obviously.” April narrows her eyes at Sterling. “Why? You’ve done yours, right?”

“No reason,” Sterling lies, thinking of the notebook she has hidden in her bedside drawer that contains more half-written, crossed-out sentences than completed ones. So far nothing has sounded right in her many attempts to put all her promises for April into words. And obviously, a simple, ‘I promise to not cheat on you and to not burn our future house down while cooking eggs’ could never suffice. “I’m just worried about sounding dumb, is all.”

“As long as you show up and proclaim your undying love for me in front of all of our friends and family, I won’t think you sound dumb,” April says reassuringly. “But also, if you need someone to peer review what you have…”

“I can’t let you proofread my vows! They’re for you!” Sterling states the obvious, causing April to giggle.

“Was worth a shot,” she says, standing up from the swing and coming to stand in front of Sterling, putting her hands on the chains of the swing just above Sterling’s. “But I’m serious, Sterl. Marrying you is the most important part of all of this.”

“Glad we can agree on that,” Sterling says, smiling as April leans down to kiss her gently. “So, how badly did my mom chew you out for sleeping in my room last night?”

April groans. “Well, I got a firm talking to about obeying house rules and also for not going to get them when you came home injured.”

“That’s it?” Sterling asks, thinking April’s reaction to it doesn’t line up with her explanation.

“And I was told to guard my virginity and wait to be ‘activated’ on my wedding night.” April does not need to say anything more.

“Ew!” Sterling shudders. “Why she thinks that’s an acceptable word to use concerning vaginas, unused or not, is beyond me.”

“It’s probably because speaking in terms that make it sound like a new cell phone is easier for her mind to compute than you or me, let alone the two of us, having sex,” April explains logically. “And with that said, it still makes me veeery uncomfy.” She looks off into the distance for comedic effect, and it works to a certain extent, as Sterling starts to laugh, leaning into April’s chest, shoulders shaking, until she realizes she isn’t laughing anymore.

“Hey, it’s okay,” April whispers in an attempt to comfort her, holding her tight. “Everything is going to be alright.”

Sterling doesn’t see how that’s possible considering she’s being forced to choose between her two favorite people in the world, and this is only exacerbated by April being so uncharacteristically nice. “My sister doesn’t even want to be my maid of honor,” she sobs, slightly muffled, into April’s chest.

“Baby,” April coos, stroking Sterling’s hair lovingly. “You guys will work it out. I know you will because I’m not nearly lucky enough to have you all to myself without Blair’s meddling,” she says, probably only about three-quarters joking.

The momentary return to true April-ness is enough to make Sterling feel just a bit better, because she knows that this isn’t just April putting on an act to spare her feelings. She really does believe that Blair will come around. And if April believes it, then Sterling has to believe just as much.

April puts her hands on Sterling’s shoulders, urging her to look up, and when she finally does, Sterling sees only love in those blue eyes as she sniffles. “There you are,” April says, wiping her tears away with her thumbs.

Sterling leans forward slightly and is grateful for April being such a good body language reader as she gives her exactly what she wants and needs in the form of a lingering kiss that is perhaps a bit soggier than usual.

“Things are going to be alright,” April says as she pulls away, taking Sterling’s face gently in her hands. “I say that with the utmost confidence.”

Sterling’s never been one to argue too much with her fiancée’s level of knowledge, especially when it comes to her own heart. April’s far too smart. “I believe you,” she says, nodding. “I just don’t know how long it’ll take.”

“Neither do I. But until then, you’ve obviously got me, and I’ve. Got. You.” With each of the last three words, she plants a kiss on Sterling’s forehead and both cheeks. “Because I love you more than I love stability in my life.”

“That much?” Sterling asks, honestly surprised as April nods. “Okay, well, I love you more than I love...cake batter froyo,” she says, as it’s truly the only thing she can think of at the moment. Cake batter froyo is incorruptible goodness, though April seems to disagree as she chuckles.

“Nice comeback, Slick,” she says sarcastically, but she’s still smiling as if she finds it endearing anyway, which was all Sterling was aiming for. “Do you want to go home now?” she asks, holding out her hand for Sterling to take.

Sterling nods silently and gets up from the swing, enjoying the feeling of April’s impossibly soft hand in hers as they return to the truck just as a minivan full of kids and their tired-looking mother show up to unleash havoc upon the playground.

“Looks like we’re getting out of here just in time,” April whispers. “Though I’m sure that might be us in a few years if you have anything to say about it.”

Sterling giggles, as even someone such as herself, who loves children, has their limits for what they can handle in emotionally fraught times like these. “I dunno. Maybe we should just skip the sibling drama and have one we can spoil rotten,” she says, knowing this is exactly what April wants, but only somewhat meaning it herself. Even when they’re fighting, she loves her sister.

“In ten to fifteen years, of course.”

“Oh, of course.” Sterling nods, going to the passenger side and climbing up into the truck, wincing as she has to put all of her weight onto the boot for a second or two. “Okay, maybe you were right about not leaving the house today.”

“Of course I was. But it’s too late to do anything about it now,” April says, reaching across to rub Sterling’s leg. “So, poor baby.”

“Did you get me a burrito bowl?” Sterling asks in a whiny voice, only now remembering her lunch request from over an hour ago.

April rolls her eyes. “Yes, but it’s definitely cold by now.” She removes her hand from Sterling’s leg and starts up the truck.

“That’s okay,” Sterling says, knowing that a cold burrito bowl is only a slight downgrade from a warm one. It’s not like the flavors change.

“And I definitely stress-ate the chips and guac I got you when I came home to find you gone,” April admits sheepishly.

“Well, it’s the thought that counts,” Sterling says, unable to be mad about April finally indulging in something unhealthy for the first time since they bought their wedding dresses. She can’t wait to finally be married so they can eat their weight in weird Star Wars food on their honeymoon...and if there was ever any doubt about how much she loves her soon-to-be wife, her own genuine desire to try a Ronto Wrap should clear that up.

“Also, I was already scolded today, so you’re on your own when it comes to facing your mother,” April adds, to which Sterling nods.

“Understood.”

“Awesome,” April says, smiling as she puts the truck into gear. “So, uh, how come your dad was just kinda staring at a pile of puzzle pieces when we came home?”

Sterling scoffs. “You don’t wanna know.”