A week after Adora’s confession to Glimmer — and, subsequently, her decision to keep the fact that she is totally and completely in love with her best friend a secret — Adora finds herself sort of avoiding Catra.
It’s easier to forget about everything when they’re not in the same room, or not constantly touching in an overly affectionate way like they’d been doing in the beginning of all of this, so she’s spent the past week attempting to put a bit of distance between them. She’s attempted to not make it too obvious by only dialing down the physicality of it by a small bit, but she knows that Catra is very observant, even if she doesn’t like to admit it, and has probably noticed by now.
Adora knows, logically, the best thing to do would be to just (fake) end things now. Ms. Weaver’s pretty much completely gotten off her back now, so the entire point of this has been accomplished, and there’s no real reason for them to stay together any longer. But still, Adora figures it’d be better to ease into the entire ordeal, instead of just bombarding Catra and demanding they break up right then and there.
And yet, despite the precautions Adora’s beginning to take to start the entire process of getting over Catra, it doesn’t help. If anything, it makes it worse.
Adora finds herself distracted, like, constantly. She’s already been told off in two separate classes for not paying attention because she’s too busy daydreaming about Catra, and her coach has even pulled her out a couple of times during practice and asked her why she isn’t focusing.
When she gets called out a third time for not paying attention, Adora’s half tempted to just slam her head against the table. Glimmer clears her throat in the seat next to her, and Adora doesn’t even have to bother asking to know what she’s thinking.
“So, I take it the entire plan to get over Catra isn’t working?” Glimmer asks once the teacher has let them split into pairs for their assignment. Adora clenches her jaw.
“Wow, really?” she snaps, voice laced in frustration. “What could possibly have given away that idea?” Glimmer blinks, and Adora rubs her eyes. “Sorry, that was rude of me.”
“So, either you’ve just been hanging out with Catra too much and her inability to go five minutes without being sarcastic is rubbing off on you, or I’m right, and your plan is, predictably, not working,” Glimmer concludes. “It’s probably a bit of both, right?”
“To be honest, I didn’t have much of a plan to begin with.”
“Yeah, that’s pretty obvious.”
Adora glares. “Glimmer, seriously, not helping. I don’t know what to do.”
Glimmer lifts a brow. “Have you tried, I don’t know, asking Catra how she feels about all of this?”
Adora sort of feels like they’re having the same conversation as they did last week. “You know why I can’t do that.”
“Well, my advice still hasn’t changed from last week. The only other option I’m seeing here is to break up — fake break up — with her now. If you’re so convinced she doesn’t feel the same way, then what’s the big deal?”
Somehow, it’s those words that make Adora stop mindlessly thinking about Catra’s eyes for once and more about everything else. What is the big deal, anyway? If Catra doesn’t feel the same way, then she wouldn’t have a problem with Adora wanting to break up now, right?
“And while you’re at it, you definitely need to take a breather,” Glimmer murmurs. Adora blinks, snapping out of her thoughts, and glances down to where her assignment is completely crumpled up between her hands.
She sighs, attempting to uncrumple and salvage what’s left, and wonders how she ever let herself get to this point.
The next evening, Adora’s contemplating just going to Catra’s house and telling her something like the plan worked, there’s no real reason for us to stay together, you don’t have to do this for me anymore when she decides to just message a simple Hi.
It’s not nighttime, but the sky is angry, and the bullets of rain drumming noisily against the walls serve as a nice reminder as to why. Her room is darker than it’d normally be in this time, the gentle glow of her lava lamp being the only light.
Adora had never really been a big fan of the rain. She’s always sort of seen it as saddening and desolating, and yet, the sight of it always makes Catra’s eyes glint with happiness.
(Adora also knows that she’d be fine with no sunshine or constant storms or any kind of weather if it made Catra’s eyes light up like that. She has, therefore, grown to have a small amount of fondness for the rain throughout the years.)
When she reaches for her phone after it buzzes a few minutes later, the message hey stares back at her. you okay?
Yeah, Adora quickly responds, and tries to ignore the onslaught of butterflies that bubble in her stomach despite the fact that Catra has literally only asked her if she’s okay. Can we talk?
ya, Catra responds after a few minutes. want me to come over?
Sure. Thunder rattles the house, so Adora adds, You’re not going to walk, right?
nope, Catra tells her, i’ll be there soon.
Fifteen minutes later, Adora hears someone knock on the front door. Catra greets her with a shy smile, clothes a little damp from the rain.
“Hey, Adora,” she says after Adora quickly ushers her inside. Adora means to reply with a friendly hi, but nothing seems to comes out. She nearly takes Catra’s hand to lead her upstairs, but after a moment of hesitation, decides that probably wouldn’t be best, and then cocks her head to the stairs in question.
Catra looks a little uncertain, but she makes her way to Adora’s room without any protest. When they arrive, Adora quietly shuts the door, and then tentatively steps closer to Catra.
“I… I’ve actually been wanting to talk, too,” Catra admits. Adora glances up, and it’s then that she really takes in her appearance, and how she’s tapping her fingers against her thigh the same way she does when she gets nervous. It’s a strange sight, Adora thinks, because it’s sort of rare for Catra to be so nervous that it’s clearly visible.
Suddenly feeling a lot more anxious than she did a few seconds ago, Adora nods. “Okay. You can, um, go first, if you want.”
Catra bounces on the balls of her feet, another sign that she’s nervous. “No, that’s okay. You called me here first.”
Adora means to ease into it, maybe slowly bring it up, but when she opens her mouth, all she says is, “Okay. We can break up now.”
Catra’s eyes widen in shock, and even her jaw drops almost comically. If this was any other situation, and if Adora didn’t half feel like she was going to throw up, she probably would’ve teased her for it. “Wait, what?”
With a lump growing in her throat, Adora repeats, “we can—“
“I heard you,” Catra rushes out, and then takes a deep breath so her voice is a bit quieter when she says her next words. “What are you talking about?”
Adora awkwardly rubs her arm. “The plan worked. Ms. Weaver isn’t— she isn’t really trying to control me anymore. I brought up going to BMU again, and she didn’t say anything.” Adora thinks she sees Catra’s face fall, but it’s kind of hard to tell. “So, we can— we can stop all of this, now. We can just… go back to being friends.”
Catra still looks like she can’t believe what she’s hearing. “Right now?”
“Just... just like that?”
“How else would it be?” Adora asks, letting her eyes flutter shut. When she opens them again, Catra’s glancing down and past her, brows knitted together like she’s trying to make sense of everything.
“I… I thought…” she trails off, and then her voice gets kind of small. “I don’t know what I thought.”
“Well, the plan worked, didn’t it? What’s the point in continuing to do it?” Adora asks, not quite sure if she’s trying to convince herself or Catra anymore.
Catra doesn’t respond, and there’s a few beats of silence, save for the roar of the thunder in the background. Finally, she takes a deep breath, and then without another word, steps past Adora. Adora blinks, turning around and reaching for Catra’s hand on instinct, but when she sees Catra stare down at their intertwined hands, she quickly drops them.
“Wait,” she stage whispers, “where are you going?”
“What do you mean, where am I going?” Catra asks, still refusing to look at her. Her voice is hard, and unlike the way she sounded a few moments ago. “I’m going home.”
With panic beginning to well in her chest, Adora quickly reminds her, “I thought you wanted to talk about something, too?”
Catra doesn’t turn back to face her. “Yeah, well just forget it, okay?” After a moment, she adds, “I just remembered I have to help Scorpia with her Spanish homework.”
Briefly, Adora believes it — they’ve all turned to Catra when it comes to Spanish class at some point — but then remembers that Scorpia’s on another date with Perfuma, and she knows that for sure because Perfuma had excitedly told her about it earlier. “I thought she was on a date?”
Catra pauses, still facing the door, and then shakes her head and continues. “Then I’m just going home.”
She steps out of Adora’s room, leaving her dumbfounded for a good few moments. When she manages to snap herself back into reality, she quickly follows Catra through the house, down the stairs and outside.
The rain is coming down in sheets, almost immediately drenching their clothes and hair. It’s chilly too, and Adora thinks she sees a flash of lightning in the distance. “Why?” she asks, grasping desperately for Catra’s hands like they’re straws. “Please, just tell me what I did wrong.”
Catra spins around and pulls her hand out of Adora’s reach, leaving Adora to stare at her in distress. There’s drops of water trailing down her cheeks, and her dark curls cling to her forehead. Adora wants nothing more than to press her warm palms to her face.
“What do you mean, tell me what I did wrong?” she snaps, and there are tears in her eyes that are visible despite the rain, much to Adora’s surprise. “What the fuck is this to you, Adora?”
Adora shakes her head, growing more desperate by the second. “Catra, what are you talking about?” she asks, trying to keep her voice low, but Catra’s pacing around, dragging a hand over her mouth as her tears threaten to spill over.
“You— you can’t— you can’t— you kissed me,” she finally settles on. “You kissed me when there was no one around. We’ve been dating for longer than we initially planned. You can’t just do those things and then want to break up, what the fuck?”
“I…” Adora trails off, because she didn’t think Catra would be so upset about this. “But that was the plan, right? The plan was to breakup after Weaver stopped trying to be so controlling.”
“That was the plan before you kissed me!” Catra snaps. She’s shouting now, and Adora’s horrified to see the tears in her eyes finally spill over and mingle with the rain streaming down her face. “That was the plan two months ago before things started changing!”
Adora shakes her head and opens her mouth to speak, but nothing except for a few pitiful noises comes out.
“Let me ask you something, Adora,” Catra eventually hisses. “Was this your plan all along? Fucking with my head and sending me all of these confusing signals? Making me feel like— like—” she cuts herself off and takes a step back, jaw clenched.
“No!” Adora exclaims, stepping forward. Rain pounds down on the sidewalk, and her feet make a horrible squelch noise in the grass. “No, of course not! Why are you acting like this? You knew this would happen from the beginning!”
Catra watches her for a few moments. Anywhere from between seconds to minutes might have passed, but Adora can’t quite tell over the racing of her heart and the pounding of the rain.
“Did this mean anything to you?” Catra eventually asks, voice softer than before. She sounds small and vulnerable now, barely able to be heard over the rain.
Adora tries to take another step forward, but pauses when Catra only backs further away. “Catra— I…” she tries, not quite sure what else to say. “You’re… you’re my best friend.”
Catra lets out a bitter laugh and shakes her head. “Yeah, your best friend who you kissed for no reason, apparently.” Adora doesn’t know how to respond to that, so Catra lets out a small sigh. “You didn’t answer the question.”
Adora doesn’t completely understand the extent of her feelings, and the idea of confessing what all of this really did mean to her is terrifying, so she quietly replies, “no. No, it didn’t.”
(It’s a mistake she won’t realize she’s made until it’s too late.)
There’s a long beat that passes, and then Catra averts her mismatched gaze, futilely wiping her eyes with the back of her arm. “Okay then, Adora,” she says, turning around. “You want a breakup? You’ve got it.”
And then she’s gone, and Adora doesn’t make a move to stop her.
Hours later, Adora lies down on her bed, facing the ceiling with a phone beside her that’s mockingly silent. Her screen is full of nothing but unanswered messages, filled with pleas and apologies that haven’t been answered, let alone read. Each time she gets a notification she practically races to open her phone, only to see it’s just something like Mermista tagging her in a photo on instagram or a snapchat from Glimmer.
The time for dinner comes and goes. Adora’s positive Ms. Weaver had heard at least some of what happened just a few hours ago, and if anything, is probably happily basking in it. The thought makes Adora clench her fist, and she rubs her eyes and clutches a hoodie to her chest that still has a lingering smell of Catra from the last time she had borrowed it.
Sometime around ten, she finally gets up to go shower and eat a yoghurt cup so she’s not too hungry, and when she’s getting changed, her phone begins to buzz on her bed. Once again, Adora practically lunges for it, only to deflate when she sees it’s Bow who’s calling her.
She answers after a small internal debate about ignoring it.
“What happened with Catra?” Bow’s voice fills the room, and Adora flinches. He’s not being aggressive — it’s rare that he ever is — but his tone is still hard and firm.
“What do you mean?” Adora asks, because she doesn’t know how or why Bow would even know about any of this.
“She told me she was going over, a couple of hours later I ask her how it went—“
“How what went?”
“—and she tells me to fuck off and to never speak to her again. Obviously something went wrong, because the last time she told me something like that it was junior year and you two hadn’t even gotten close to reconciling yet.”
More tears gather in Adora’s eyes. This is exactly what she didn’t want to happen — them to go back to how they were before senior year.
“Bow, I really messed up,” she murmurs, cringing at the way her voice cracks in the middle of that statement.
Bow takes a deep breath. “What happened?”
“We broke up,” Adora whispers, sitting down on her bed and pulling her knees to her chest. “I thought— I thought it was still a fake breakup, but I don’t… I don’t know anymore.”
“You… broke up?”
“Yeah,” Adora murmurs, and then, after a deep breath, launches into everything that’s happened between them in the past two months. She wasn’t really telling anyone before because she was afraid it’d somehow get back to Catra, but there is literally no way for things to get worse at this point.
She tells Bow everything Glimmer knows — about how she sort of realized she was in love with Catra mere days after everything started, and how she’s been trying to stop her feelings from growing ever since then. About how she told Glimmer and, against Glimmer’s advice, decided to break up with Catra instead of telling her how she really felt. About how in the spur of a moment, she had kissed Catra during seven minutes in heaven, and how that was probably the biggest thing she messed up on.
“I asked her to come over,” Adora says. “I was planning on ending things — the fake portion of our relationship, not everything — with her soon, anyway, so I figured I’d tell her then. After I told her, she tried to leave. I asked her to tell me what was wrong, which made everything worse because I realized she was crying and she was upset and everything’s just such a mess now.”
Bow’s quiet for a moment after she finishes, like he’s trying to figure out what to say next. “She was crying?”
“Yeah,” she whispers, and confirming it just makes her heart shatter even more. “God, Bow, I made her cry. I’ve known her for nearly a decade and a half and I can still count the amount of times I’ve seen her cry on one hand, and to know she cried because of me—“
“Adora, breathe,” Bow interrupts softly, and Adora’s grateful for the reminder, because she finds her chest is sort of aching. “Just take a deep breath, alright?”
Adora nods, despite the fact that there’s no one around to see. Neither of them say anything for a good few minutes, before Adora whimpers. “Bow, what do I do now?”
“You tell her everything you just told me,” Bow says, voice back to the firmness it had before.
“How’s that going to fix anything?” Adora questions in exasperation.
“Adora,” Bow starts, and he sounds a little tired. “Don’t you get it? Catra’s in love with you.”
Now that makes Adora’s heart stop. “What?” she asks in disbelief. “Bow, what are you talking about?”
“You didn’t have any idea, did you?” Adora doesn’t respond, so he continues. “She was going to tell you when she came over.”
“Oh my god,” Adora whispers, still in disbelief. “She was going to tell me she’s in love with me, and I broke up with her instead.”
Bow’s quiet for a moment on the other end. “...Yeah.”
God, I really, really messed up. “You… you know this for sure?”
“Yeah. She told me a little while ago, and I helped her figure out what she was going to say. That’s why I was expecting her to reply positively, so when she told me to fuck off, it wasn’t exactly rocket science to figure out something must’ve gone wrong.”
“So I should just talk to her?” Adora asks, rubbing her nose with the sleeve of her shirt. “I should just tell her how I feel, right?”
“Honestly, Adora,” Bow sighs. “Isn’t that how you two fixed your friendship after years of fighting? By talking it out? Why didn’t you just tell her how you felt from the beginning?”
“I was afraid she wouldn’t feel the same way and that I’d scare her off again,” Adora explains. “Glimmer told me the same thing — that I should just talk to her, but like an idiot, I didn’t, and now we’re here.”
“Well, there’s nothing we can do to change what happened in the past,” Bow tells her. “But I don’t think it’s ever too late to fix things.”
The ends of Adora’s lips twitch up in a slight smile. “Okay. Thanks for talking to me about this, Bow. I really appreciate it.”
“No problem. I just hope you two can work this out, because I’m not sure will happen if you don’t.”
“Talk to her, okay?”
Adora takes a deep breath. “I will.”
Initially, Adora doesn’t quite know what she expected, but talking to Catra is a lot harder than she thought it’d be. Not just because she’s afraid of what may happen, but because she literally can’t find Catra anywhere.
The next day at school, Catra isn’t at her locker like she’d usually be. Adora searches for her in the music room and in the courtyard, but she isn’t in either places.
When third period arrives and Catra isn’t in her usual seat, Adora solemnly accepts that Catra probably isn’t here at all today, and the thought stresses her even more. Catra still hasn’t read any of the messages Adora’s sent, so it’s not like she can contact her through that, either.
The rest of the day is spent hating herself for everything that happened — everything that could’ve been avoided had Adora not been a coward and just talked about her feelings. She ignores her friends and eats lunch alone where she doesn’t have to deal with anyone asking about what happened, and stares at Catra’s empty seat in the only other class they share. Glimmer manages to get her alone between their last two periods, but Adora shrugs her off. She knows it’s pretty shitty of her to basically ignore her friends, but she’s really not in the mood to talk to anyone today.
She tries messaging Catra again when she gets home a couple of hours later, but they all go unread. The next day, Adora feels even worse, but she forces herself to go to school in hopes that Catra will be there.
For the second day in a row, she’s not.
By the time the final bell rings, Adora’s just about ready to go home and wallow in her sorrows for the rest of the weekend, before she remembers she has practice for another two hours. Skipping isn’t really an option, being that they’re at the very end of the season, so she spends the rest of it sort of unconsciously going through the motions.
Afterwards, while they’re getting changed in the locker room, Adora’s basically dead on her feet when Lonnie either doesn’t seem to get the hint that she’s not in the mood or just doesn’t care and starts talking to her anyway.
“Do you know where Catra is today?” the other girl asks, glancing over at Adora through the door of her locker. “We were supposed to get started on a project during lunch, but she wasn’t here.”
Adora tenses at the mention of her best friend — of who she hopes will still be her best friend after this — and tries not to start bawling right then and there like some loser. “No,” she answers simply, because in all honesty, she really doesn’t know where Catra is, just that she’s not here and why. “You didn’t… you didn’t text her?”
Lonnie frowns. “I did during lunch when she didn’t show up,” she admits, “but she didn’t respond. Figured you two were off doing something together.”
Huh. And here Adora thought Catra was only avoiding her.
“Well, we weren’t,” Adora sighs, and then shuts her locker and makes her way to the front of the school before she can hear Lonnie’s response.
For the rest of Friday, Adora doesn’t bother trying to text Catra again. At some point, she has to accept that Catra won’t talk to her unless she’s ready, and continuously pestering her is just going to cause her to be pushed further away. Sometime in the evening, she switches tactics and decides to call Entrapta, who answers after a couple of rings.
“Hey, Entrapta,” Adora greets her. “Have you heard from Catra?”
“Not much,” Entrapta responds. “She told me and Scorpia not to worry about picking her up yesterday, and when I asked her what was wrong, she said she was sick.” Entrapta’s quiet for a beat. “There’s something wrong though, isn’t there?”
“Could you go check on her?” Adora asks, avoiding the question entirely. “Just to make sure she’s okay?”
“Sure!” Entrapta exclaims. “I would’ve done it sooner, but I thought she was just sick. You two didn’t break up, did you?”
Adora flinches at Entrapta’s bluntness. “She’s… um, not really speaking to me right now,” she admits, feeling like Entrapta is someone who she can be somewhat honest with. “I think she’s avoiding everyone, and me showing up unannounced will probably make it worse, so…”
A lump forms in Adora’s throat. “It’s— it’s really complicated, Entrapta.”
“Complicated like you two were in a fake relationship and one or both of you caught real feelings and someone got hurt?”
Adora’s jaw just about drops to the floor. “Who told you?”
“No one,” Entrapta exclaims a little too cheerfully. “I figured it out.”
“Oh,” Adora mutters, and honestly, she doesn’t know why she expected anything less. “Well, yeah. Complicated like that, I guess.”
“Catra can be complicated,” Entrapta agrees. “But you two will work it out. You’ve been through worse.”
Adora’s not sure that’s true, but she forces herself to agree anyway. “Yeah. Um, thanks, Entrapta.”
Entrapta sends her a quick message a couple of hours later to let her know that Catra’s okay, and Adora thanks her again. Catra still doesn’t respond on Saturday when Adora tries calling her a few times, but Adora nearly throws her phone when she gets a notification from her late Sunday night.
There’s a rush of possible hope that fills her chest at the thought of finally getting to talk and possibly explain herself to Catra, only to immediately deflate when she reads the word stop staring back at her from a gray bubble.
Please, Adora messages her, her desperation reaching its peak. Just let me explain.
It’s not surprising when Catra doesn’t respond to that message, but it is surprising when she finally shows up again the next week. She is, obviously, not in the spot they usually meet up at, and she must be teleporting to her classes because Adora can’t seem to find her in the hallways anywhere. During the few classes they share, Catra arrives late enough that Adora doesn’t have time to talk to her, and leaves early enough so that Adora can’t try to talk to her before she leaves.
“I don’t know, Adora,” Glimmer tells her at the end of Tuesday; officially five days since the fake (real?) break up, and two days since Catra has now been managing to avoid her during school. “It’s clear she wants space, and if you keep pushing—”
“I know,” Adora sighs, pressing her head against the cool glass of Glimmer’s car and watching the buildings that pass. “I know. I just want to tell her how I really feel, even if she doesn’t forgive me.”
Glimmer lays a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. “Well, it’s not like she can ignore you forever, right?” she asks, but the sentence only serves to make Adora more terrified of what might happen if she doesn’t manage to fix things, especially now that they’re only months away from graduation. She doesn’t want a repeat of freshman year; doesn’t want to lose Catra again.
Adora doesn’t think she can lose her again.
By the end of the week, Adora’s only made an attempt to talk to Catra a few more times, when Scorpia calls her just after she gets home on Friday.
“Hi,” Adora answers a little tentatively, mainly because she hasn’t really talked to Catra’s closest friends — aside from her brief talk with Entrapta — since everything happened.
“Hi,” Scorpia replies. There’s an awkward silence for a few moments, before Scorpia says, “I think you should stop trying to talk to her for a while.”
Panic streams through Adora. “What do you mean?” she asks, and winces when her voice sounds kind of choked out.
“Just— just let Catra have her space, for a while?” Scorpia tries to clarify, and Adora can tell that this is slightly awkward for her, too. Scorpia’s one of the sweetest people Adora knows, but she also knows that Scorpia can get incredibly protective when she needs to be.
“She, um… did she tell you what happened?” Adora asks. She’s sure everyone knows they’ve broken up by now, but whether or not people know that the entire ordeal was fake — or, was at least meant to be fake — is a different thing.
“Yeah,” Scorpia murmurs. “Well, she said a bit, and Entrapta told me the rest.” There’s another awkward moment where no one speaks, and then Scorpia says, “look, Adora, I really want you two to work this out. I’m not mad at you, but it really hurts me to see Catra this torn up over something, so I think it’d be best for you to stay away from her for at least a little while, okay?”
“Okay,” Adora agrees, letting out a shaky breath. “I’ll stay away from her.”
“Thanks,” is all Scorpia says, and then the line goes dead.
The weeks leading up to prom sort of blur together.
When Scorpia begs her to come help her find the perfect dress to match Perfuma’s, Catra figures it’s on her for not realizing the entire thing was basically a ploy that Scorpia created to get her to choose something for herself to wear. She had mentioned not really wanting to attend prom a couple of times, but Scorpia had reminded her that this is their senior prom, and that she shouldn’t let anything — or anyone — ruin it for her.
(“That’s not what this is about,” Catra had grumbled after stepping out of the dressing room of the store they were at. A maroon suit was what they were currently on, and even Catra had to admit she sort of liked it, even if she hadn’t attempted to do the tie before she stepped out to show it to Scorpia.
Scorpia didn’t bother responding to Catra about the whole I know you don’t want to go to prom because Adora might be there but this is a one in a lifetime experience and you should get to enjoy it without her conversation. Instead, her eyes lit up, and she immediately stepped forward with a wide smile.
“Wildcat, this looks so great on you!” she exclaimed, and then took a picture to no doubt send to Perfuma to ask her what she thought.
“You think?” Catra asked, only to turn back and find Scorpia staring at her with a genuine look in her eyes.
“Yeah,” she smiled. “I do.”)
Which is exactly how Catra finds herself at the local reception center, because apparently her class managed to raise enough money to be able to afford a decent place to hold prom this year.
So far, it’s nothing too special.
She’ll admit, the place does look pretty great, decked out in moss and vines to fit with the Enchanted Forest theme the student council had decided to go with this year. Her suit doesn’t match the theme in the slightest, but neither do a good amount of the other kids here, so Catra doesn’t feel too bad about it in the end. Coach Netossa is guarding the punch bowls to make sure nothing gets spiked — which is, admittedly, a little disappointing — but she figures it isn’t surprising after one of the football players managed to sneak an entire bottle of vodka into their junior prom.
She’s sort of tagging along with Perfuma and Scorpia (and Entrapta, but she had disappeared after about an hour, and Catra has long since learned not to question her motives). Eventually, she gets tired of Scorpia’s incessant nagging about if she’s okay or if she’s having a good time, and decides to abandon them to head for the food table. She knows Scorpia is just trying to make sure she doesn’t feel left out, but it’s a little overbearing at this point.
Catra’s busy examining the cupcake selection and humming the song that’s currently playing underneath her breath when she sees someone step up next to her out of her peripheral. She glances up almost immediately, already preparing for the worst, but relaxes when she sees that it’s just Bow.
“Hey,” he greets her, plucking a cupcake off of the table. “How are you doing?”
“Fine,” Catra responds, albeit a little sheepishly. They haven’t talked for a few weeks now — not since Catra told him to fuck off on that day — and she’s had plenty of time to cool off from that. “And... I’m sorry.”
Bow raises a brow. “For what?” he asks through a mouthful of cupcake, and he seems genuinely confused like Catra hadn’t told him never to speak to her again and then proceeded to avoid half of their friends for the remainder of the month.
“For everything?” Catra says, although it comes out more like a question. “For— for being mad at you and Glimmer, even though none of it was your fault. And for telling you to fuck off.” She finds herself averting her eyes to stare at the green frosted cupcake in her hands. “That wasn’t cool.”
Bow hums in response. “It’s alright,” he tells her. “I understand that a lot was going on. Glimmer’s not upset about it, either.” That revelation makes Catra relax a bit; she was sure they would’ve been at least a little mad.
“That’s… that’s good,” Catra whispers. She’s not sure what compels her to ask her next question, but she doesn’t linger on it for long. “Is… is, um, Adora okay?”
The way Bow’s lips part give away his surprise, and Catra figures he hadn’t been expecting for her to ask about Adora. In his defense, Catra wasn’t exactly expecting it, either.
“Yeah,” he eventually says. “She’s okay.” Catra nods, slowly beginning to grow nervous with the conversation, but Bow nudges her shoulder. “She misses you.”
Catra can’t help the sting in her eyes, and the way her vision gets blurry right after. “That’s— that’s not fair,” she says, although she doesn’t know if she’s talking to Bow or herself. “She’s the one who wanted to break up. She wanted to end things. She— she kissed me, and I thought she wanted to be with me, but then she told me that none of it meant anything. She shouldn’t get to miss me after that.”
“I know. And I think that’s entirely fair,” Bow tells her, and somehow, it’s those words that make her feel sort of better. Like her feelings are valid, and not just irrational. “But we know Adora. You know Adora, better than probably anyone else. I think she was just scared of letting herself act on her feelings of want in case you didn’t reciprocate them.”
Catra lets out a bitter chuckle. “In case I didn’t reciprocate them?” she echoes. “I thought it was pretty obvious that I did.”
Bow doesn’t say anything, and after Catra attempts to use the pads of her fingers to wipe at her eyes without ruining her eyeliner, she realizes that he’s already staring at her.
“Well, I thought it was obvious, too,” he admits, “but she can be a little oblivious sometimes.”
Catra chuckles again, but this time it’s a little genuine. “A little?”
Bow’s gives her a sympathetic smile. They sit there for a few more moments, and it’s then that Catra finds Adora from all the way across the room. She’s standing beside Mermista and Sea Hawk in a lengthy, elegant, white and gold dress, and her hair is down for once, long and golden and tumbling over her shoulders. She looks beautiful.
As if on cue, a slower song starts playing, some song by Sheryl Crow that Catra thinks she recognizes. Adora chooses that moment to turn and make eye contact with her, as if this is something straight out of a Hallmark movie. There’s a moment where she looks like she’s going to take a step closer to them, but then she pauses, and remains standing where she is. Catra doesn’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed.
Letting out a shaky sigh, Catra stuffs the rest of the cupcake into her mouth, and then straightens up. “I think I’m gonna go find Lonnie, or something,” she says. They both know it’s a lie, but Bow doesn’t try to stop her, which Catra appreciates.
“Okay. You can call me if you need anything, alright?”
Catra truly doesn’t know where she’d be without her friends. She thanks him, and without looking back to find Adora, she leaves.
It’s cold when she reaches the parking lot. Despite the fact that they’ve been in April for a few days now and it should be much warmer, it’s not. Catra thinks she heard Entrapta mention something about one last cold front coming in something this evening, but she hadn’t been paying much attention.
She thinks back to what she told Bow, about this not being fair. She wishes she could do it over: insist it not be her that be the one to fake date Adora; refuse to go to that party, or to stay outside instead of going into that closet; and, most importantly, not act on her feelings for her best friend.
Of course, she can’t.
Catra’s only outside for a few minutes before she’s joined by Entrapta. The sound of her shoes on the asphalt give her away, and she sits down next to Catra on the cold, metal bench.
Neither one of them say anything for a while. There’s a light drizzle of rain that’s started, and a particular harsh gust of wind that makes them both shiver leads to Catra shrugging off her jacket and draping it over Entrapta’s shoulders.
“What are you doing out here?” Catra eventually asks, disrupting the comfortable silence that had surrounded them.
Entrapta shrugs. “It got kind of loud in there. Plus, Bow said I might find you out here.”
Catra doesn’t respond to that. She lets out a deep exhale, watching a warm cloud of air escape her mouth.
“Are you okay?” Entrapta questions. Catra doesn’t respond, so Entrapta asks, “will you come back inside? It’s kind of cold out here.”
“I think I’m gonna head home,” Catra tells her. “Could you thank Scorpia for me? For everything?”
“Sure,” her friend says. “But will you be alright?”
“I’ll be fine,” Catra replies, honestly. “Thank you.”
It’s rare that Entrapta initiates any sort of physical contact, much less hugs. It’s one of the things they have in common. And yet, when Entrapta reaches out in question, Catra accepts, and allows herself to be pulled into a loose hug.
She manages a grateful smile when Entrapta pulls back to head inside.
Three blocks over, the bright pink lights of the diner she's been to multiple times before shine out, lighting up the growing puddles in the street. It’s comforting to see them, and something seems to beckon her inside.
The bell rings with something close to familiarity when she enters. A waiter that had been wiping down a formica table asks her what she wants, and Catra politely requests a chocolate milkshake.
When he leaves, Catra turns to head to the booth she’s always sat at whenever she’s come here. When she does, she finds a head of long, golden blonde hair facing her, and stops in her tracks.
Briefly, she considers leaving before Adora sees her, but as if she can sense someone watching her, Adora turns toward the door and meets Catra’s gaze. Her eyes — blue and gray, with flecks of hazel that only people who have ever been inches away from her would be able to see — are sort of red and swollen, like she had been crying. No matter how hard Catra tries, she can’t tear her gaze away.
And then, as if they have a mind of her own, Catra’s legs carry her so that she finds herself sitting down in the booth across from her.
“Hi,” she says, a little unsure.
Adora looks surprised, but after blinking a few times, she musters out a small, “hi.”
The waiter sets down Catra’s milkshake next to her, and asks them if he can get either one of them anything else. They both decline, and Catra takes a sip of her drink, wrapping her sweating fingers around the glass to let the condensation cool her palms.
Adora wipes her eyes with the back of her arm. Her makeup is a little ruined, and her dress is sort of wrinkled. Catra imagines she doesn’t look much better.
“You really hurt me,” she eventually says, but can’t get herself to make eye contact with the girl across from her. Adora nods, fiddling nervously with her hands.
“I know,” she breathes, and her voice sounds so, so sad that Catra wants to start crying all over again. “I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry, Catra.”
Catra clenches her jaw, and then releases a shaky sigh. Adora pushes her basket of fries closer to the middle of the table in offering, and Catra takes one and dips it into her milkshake. They spend a while like that, sitting in silence aside from the light patter of the rain against the window and the soft murmur of the few other patrons in the diner.
“I’m in love with you,” Adora whispers, after some time passes. “I don’t know when it happened. It could’ve been weeks, or months, or years ago. What I do know is that it’s something I’m sure of.” She looks up through her lashes, and Catra finally meets her gaze. “And I— it did mean something to me. The relationship. Whether it was real or fake, it all meant a lot to me. I shouldn’t have said that it didn’t.”
Catra nods. She takes another fry and twists it around in her fingers, but doesn’t make a move to eat it. “I shouldn’t have kissed you at the party. I shouldn’t have assumed you had feelings for me, and that you knew I reciprocated them. I shouldn’t have ignored you for as long as I did. I’m sorry.”
Adora swallows. “You don’t have to apologize for that.”
“I do,” Catra murmurs, and Adora doesn’t argue with her.
It’s a long time before either one of them says anything again. There’s no tension between them — at least, not any that’s unbearable — and Catra finds it’s better than where they were ten minutes ago.
“Are you still angry with me?” Adora asks, and now, she’s the one who can’t seem to meet Catra’s gaze. Her eyes are stuck on the wooden table between them, like she’s spotted an imperfection in the marking.
“Kind of,” Catra admits. “Not— not as much as I was, right after. I think… I think I’m getting over it.”
“Getting over it,” Adora repeats. Her eyes are back on Catra’s, and she looks impossibly dejected.
“Getting over my anger,” Catra clarifies, and she doesn’t miss the way Adora visibly relaxes. “Not— not getting over you.”
Adora blinks. She watches Catra for a moment, and then says, “can I ask you something?”
For the first time since she stepped foot in here, the ends of Catra’s lips curl up into a small smile. “Can I stop you?” she replies, only slightly teasing. It seems to have its intended effect, because a shaky chuckle escapes the girl sitting across from her.
“Do you want to get over me?” she eventually asks, after taking a deep breath. Catra snaps her head back up to glance toward her, and finds that Adora looks genuine, like she’s just curious to know the answer.
“No,” Catra says, honestly. “No, I don’t.”
“I don’t want to get over you either,” Adora whispers, and Catra can’t help the adrenaline that floods her veins. “Do you think… do you think we could try again? Like, for real?”
She looks so earnest, staring at her like her answer could mean everything.
“Are you, Adora Grayskull,” Catra starts after a moment, “asking me to be your real girlfriend? Like, for yourself? Because you want this? Not to prove something to your foster mother, or for any other reason?”
Adora nods, a smile growing on her face. “Yeah,” she breathes. “Yeah, I’m asking because I want this.”
Catra doesn’t know how, but apparently she still does have more tears left to cry because her vision gets a little blurry and her eyes seem to start sweating. “Then yes.”
Adora lets out a shaky laugh, and Catra isn’t surprised to see a few tears fall from her eyes, too. “Can I— can I come over there?” she asks, and Catra’s nodding before she can even finish.
She slides into the booth on Catra’s left, and Catra meets her halfway in what’s possibly the tightest hug she’s ever felt. Being in Adora’s arms like this have always brought her nothing but warmth and safety, and Catra doesn’t ever want to let go.
Without pulling back, Adora buries her face into Catra’s hair and asks, “what now?”
“We take it slow,” Catra answers, without having to think too much about it. She doesn’t want it to be like their fake relationship, like when they just jumped right in. She may not be exactly sure of what comes next, but she knows that she doesn’t mind figuring it out with her best friend — with her real girlfriend — by her side. “I’m still hurt by what happened. But I… I love you, and I think that everything will be okay. I think we’ll be okay.”
Adora nods. Her grip on Catra tightens before it releases all together, and she pulls away to glance down at her. “Okay,” she murmurs, one hand rubbing up and down against Catra’s back. “I love you too.”
Catra smiles impossibly wide. Without another word, she leans forward to press her forehead against Adora’s, and melts into the warm, calloused palm that comes up to cup her cheek.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” Adora murmurs in disbelief. “Like, I just… wow.”
Catra laughs, because she can’t quite believe this is happening either. Instead of voicing those thoughts, however, she cups the back of Adora’s neck and whispers, “don’t ruin it.”