"I've been informed that you're experienced with unusual and extreme sexual practices."
Gideon almost spat out a mouthful of disgustingly saccharine grape soda, her face freezing in mid-gulp and not betraying her with an embarrassment of bulging eyes and mouth hanging open like an idiot. She peered at the girl across the kitchen table from behind her aviators, a brief glimpse of her amber eyes instantly drawing the attention of her potential date like a magnet.
Harrow, the potential date, gripped her opened but untouched soda can like it was a primed grenade and she was counting seconds before it blew up, her spidery fingers with short, painted black nails clawing into purple cylinder nervously. She was a lanky, angular woman that looked like she grew up in a family of goths that homeschooled her in such a way that prevented her from learning there were other colors than black in this world. The only relatively bright spots on her were a seriously dope print on her tshirt, depicting human ribcage grown with pallid pink flowers, and the diamond of her face with a little too pale highlighter applied generously to her high cheeks. Her anxiousness didn't find a reflection on that fascinating moon-like face at all, even when Harrow jerkily moved her hand up to flick her short black (big surprise) hair behind her ear, demonstrating a row of metallic ringlets and plain studs on the shell. It was just a natural state of Harrowhark's face stuck perpetually in bitchy contempt with lips pressed together in a thin line of black lipstick. She was examining Gideon's face openly, her abyssally dark, unreadable eyes adorned with thick lashes and obsessively perfect eyeliner fixed on Gideon's face with inquisitive interest.
Studying Harrowhark as she was studying Gideon in response, Gideon suddenly understood the reason behind Camilla's clippy, slightly apologetic "Good luck" she uttered when she invited Gideon to the kitchen, away from the rest of the party, introduced her to Harrow and swiftly evaporated from the sight. She could have at least warned Gideon, but- Ugh. Her friends were the best in the best aspects and the worst in the worst aspects, undeniably.
"That's the least exciting way of describing, babe," Gideon said, her lips stretching in a habitual grin.
Harrow's eyebrows furiously met together in a frown as her face crunched in a mask of offense taken.
"That's a perfectly functional way of describing it," she said, sour about not being able to make an emphasis on how exactly it was perfectly functional by taking a sip of the soda. Its scent of artificial grapes, stuffy and sugary, was eating at her nostrils from the inside even at a distance. She'd honestly rather down a cup of acid. "And I'm not your babe."
"Sure thing, sugarlips," Gideon corrected herself without missing a beat. She wondered to herself: was this Harrow's idea of hitting on people? It was almost adorable.
Harrow rolled her eyes. She had a nagging thought that this whole endeavor was dumb beyond imagining, and frankly, pride was the only thing that prevented her from getting up, pouring the soda down the kitchen sink and fleeing the party altogether right now. This Gideon was charming in the most fuckboy-ish ways and looking at her crooked smile was making Harrow's right temple hurt in a weird way. But there was also this small, vindictive desire to prove her friend (who was, unfortunately, Ianthe) that she wasn't a prudish, sulky bitch who was clinically unable to relax or, in Ianthe's words, do anything that could qualify as even remotely close to interesting. Doing things in spite of Ianthe was one of few joys left in Harrow's miserable undergrad life.
She couldn't do anything about the ongoing pressure of the final semester. Her thesis hasn't been coming together as neatly as she wanted it to - as she knew she could do, reasonably confident in her intellectual capabilities, - and it was stressing her the fuck out. She couldn't argue against the "sulky bitch" part either, and knowing this made her sulk slightly more. The rest, though? Hell, she was willing to work with it, and seeing a wrinkle of doubt on Ianthe's face when Harrow coldly agreed to a proposition to find her a one-night stand date was already worth pulling it all off.
"And how would you describe it?" Harrow asked to support the conversation.
Gideon's grin grew bigger, which seemed impossible until it happened. Harrow considered that it looked kinda insufferable and very punchable.
The entirety of Gideon seemed to be constructed around this single trait, very deliberately. Her wide, oddly crooked smile complemented her square jaw, and that jaw went along nicely with the wide bridge of her nose with a slight bump from a fracture that didn't heal up properly in the past. Hair of deep, intensely red color were combed in a fauxhawk, carelessly messy just enough to be tasteful, but temples seemed due to another shave for some time now. Harrow did take a note how the same unnaturally ginger coloration of the roots indicated that Gideon didn't dye her hair. And she was large - a whole head taller than Harrow, with long, gorgeous legs outlined obscenely by skinny jeans, and seemingly even larger than she actually was because of the leather jacket that she decided to leave on indoors for some ungodly reason. Broad shoulders hunched, she rested her frame on the elbows on the table, leaning towards Harrow across the it.
"I prefer saying that I like to threaten pretty girls with good time in bondage," Gideon responded, readily demonstrating her canines, slightly bigger than incisors.
Harrow's eyes stopped at Gideon's long fingers, thumb and index holding her soda can by the rim with unusual delicacy, as if she was afraid to crush it in her hand. She swallowed, feeling something inside her tying into a tight knot, looked back at Gideon's face and was met with her own reflections staring at her from Gideon's aviators, taken aback with the hunger seen clearly on her painted face. She wished Gideon took the glasses off. It seemed unfair, with her desire and anticipation naked, and Gideon's - shielded by a pair of stupid shades.
At least Gideon, for all her douchey expressions and terrible flirting, was as upfront about the endgoal of this as Harrow, and Harrow appreciated the direct approach.
"From what Sex Pal told me about you, I assumed you're either some sort of a nun or a virgin or both," Gideon continued suddenly, "but unless there is some sort of Church of Hot Goth GF I don't know about, you're not a nun, right?"
It took Harrow a hot second to reverse-engineer that by Sex Pal Gideon must have meant her long time online friend and coincidentally Ianthe's contact who could "introduce her to some hot neighbors in the area", Palamedes Sextus. It was a truly bizarre and frankly improbable situation where all three of women knew this one particular nerd while neither of them even suspected he was an acquaintance or a friend to all of them. Nonetheless, his involvement was a pleasant surprise for dubious Harrow, because Palamedes was the friend she could trust to actually know someone decent. Even if that someone turned out to be Gideon, who, by the way, looked like an absolute, smug asshole.
Harrow shook her head.
"I'm neither a nun nor a virgin," she said, sneering impulsively.
Gideon huffed a laugh, throwing her head up a little, and Harrow caught a glimpse of of her odd eyes flashing with gold from behind the aviators again.
"Have you tried these "extreme and unusual sexual practices" before though?" Gideon asked easily, then cracked another smile: "Gee, what a mouthful. Do you always talk like that?"
She had quite a pleasure to watch the involuntary blush trying to break through Harrow's pale make up.
"No," the potential goth girlfriend admitted through teeth, admirably battling with rising embarrassment. "And yes, occasionally, I fancy the verbose speech as a way of efficient communication."
That was said in snappish, almost acidic tone that Gideon understood as Harrow being sarcastic and couldn't help but feel charmed. She had a soft spot for prickly princesses (though Harrow resembled a bone witch more than anything, Gideon mentally corrected herself). And looking at Harrow's thin, delicate wrists that never met silk ropes and her deep set, impossibly black eyes with signs of perpetual exhaustion around them, Gideon made an easy conclusion that this particular goth princess needed nothing less than being held in strong, caring hands while being sternly, tenderly told to chill the fuck out.
She could provide.
"Alright, so," Gideon cleared her throat. She put the soda can away, feeling a small ripple of nervousness, the usual sign of her meeting someone she fancied. "Let's clear things up before anything. I'm not an escort, just so you know." ("I had assumed as much," Harrow replied evenly.) "You're been correctly informed," she involuntarily mimicked Harrow's tone here, "about my expertise though, so if you want to get in touch with your kinky inner goddess, I can be your company in these exciting adventures together."
Another one of those godawful, self-assured grins. Harrow narrowed her eyes, waiting for an inevitable "but" to come up, except that it didn't. Instead, she watched Gideon taking her aviators off in one swift, somewhat theatrical motion, and the moment after she was pinned to her seat by Gideon's honey-colored eyes. As dramatic as it sounded, it felt like the mirror shield between them dropped, and Harrow's impression of the girl before her has been completed as she studied these irises warmed by the dim lights of the kitchen. Some muscle in her ribcage started to tremble, embarrassingly so.
"As I've mentioned," Harrow said through a knot in her throat, "I'm not familiar with these... kinks," she forced herself to speak plainly, albeit at the cost of sounding bored. "What do you suggest?"
Gideon's smug grin softened into something... sincere.
"That's what you're supposed to tell me, sugarlips," she responded, her eyebrows raised in bewilderment. "What you wanna try, your no-nos, your safeword, roleplays you think about as you lay in your bed at night trying to sleep, and I'm here to make sure you're satisfied."
Harrow stared at her silently, and Gideon felt her heart tugged at with tenderness mixed with swelling anticipation. She wanted to wreck her already, wanted to see her writhing in her hands.
"You're the one calling the shots, Harrowhark," Gideon tried her name on her lips, and liked it a lot. And she liked the way Harrow looked at her right now, waiting to be coaxed into admitting what she wanted, so she went on: "Of course I have my hard nos as well. My preference is BDSM without S and M parts, but I'm rather flexible when I'm in charge - comes with being unable to refuse a pretty girl begging me nicely."
Gideon patiently awaited for a response that wasn't coming. Harrow's face was on fire, her fingers frozen around the can of soda she still hadn't put her lips to, as if it was poison to her. Her potential date, as observed objectively, just had a BSOD.
"How about we exchange phone numbers, and you," Gideon said gently, "do your research, figure out what you want - or if you want it - and then we meet again and discuss it? No pressure."
Harrow's eyes met hers, tension in her expression relieving slightly. She swallowed visibly, but otherwise got herself together.
"I would like to be threatened with good time in bondage," she eventually found her voice, and Gideon instantly beamed at her, satisfied with Harrow's admittance. "But you're right, I need some time to do... research."
"Then we meet again?"
"We meet again, Gideon." Agitated from her own words, Harrow carelessly took a sip of her soda and immediately jumped out from her seat to spit it out into the sink. The taste was so fucking bad.
Gideon watched her future goth girlfriend with an alarming feeling of her insides melting from adoration.