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underneath the mistletoe

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There's something merry and bright about Noonan's in December. The pastry case is filled to the brim with carefully decorated cookies -- all in recognizable shapes, like stockings and candy canes and very ornate looking jingle bells-- with the entire store illuminated by cozy lights and a variety of nutcrackers taking up residence on just about every visible service. It's particularly cheery during a midmorning break from work, when everyone thinks Sam is tied up in meetings, but actually, she's sneaking out to get her daughter a last minute present.

And fine, maybe a treat for herself too.

So when her phone buzzes aggressively in her pocket, it jolts her out of the blissful debate between cookie (sugar, or maybe gingerbread) and cake (red velvet with a Santa hat decoration) and immediately into panic mode.

"Hello?!"

"It's me," Lena says on the other end, her tone all business. Sam's shoulders tense to another degree. "Is this a bad time?"

"Er--" Sam hesitates, glancing around the crowded café where she's currently third in line, which is a miracle in and of itself. She thought this would be a flawless plan, but she should know better than to think this covert operation could happen without interruption. She's trying to figure out exactly which client she's fallen behind on and exactly how mad Lena is, but it's impossible to tell from only one question. "No?"

"Great!" Lena says. "I'm calling because I'm having a get together at my condo this weekend," she speaks slowly, as if the words are too complicated for Sam to understand. She pauses. "--for the holiday."

Sam nods her head, almost giddy with the prospect. The fact that this is not a work call is hysterical. Lena is only her board room best when she's hyper focused on something in the lab, or when she's incredibly nervous. Sam is thrilled that it's the latter.

"Lena Luthor, throwing a holiday party?" Sam chuckles. "And the Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day..."

"Stop it," Lena chides. "I've always been...festive."

"A bottle of cognac with a bow on it hardly counts--"

"--Anyway," Lena interrupts sharply. "It's the first year I feel like celebrating, is that such a crime?"

"Depends," Sam shrugs. She angles her head to cradle her phone as she silently points through the pastry case at the selection -- the red velvet wins, after all -- and then redirects her attention back to Lena. "What's your ulterior motive?"

"I don't have one," Lena says, exasperated.

"Okay, who are you and what have you done with Lena Luthor?"

"I'm this close to uninviting you--"

Sam laughs heartily. "Alright, alright. Tell me more about this completely out of character soiree you're throwing for no explainable reason whatsoever. Who else is going to be there?"

"You may laugh, but I've been in National City for several years now, and it's time to put use to this massive space I have, where I live alone with a kitchen that collects dust and couches that are more for show than anything else," Lena explains, unnecessarily. Sam wonders why she feels the need to start from the book of Genesis, but she doesn't interrupt. "I just thought, since all the people I care about are finally in one place, it's time to bring everyone together."

"Okay," Sam says carefully, trying desperately not make a 'but I thought Luthors didn't have friends' quip. It's coming, but she'll give Lena the benefit of a serious moment. "That sounds nice, Lena. I'm glad you thought of me. Genuinely."

"There's just one little catch," Lena says, and Sam can practically imagine her eyes fluttering in that way she has when she's about to drop a bomb, effectively blowing up the wonderful foundation she just spent time setting. She should have just made the Luthor joke. Screw politeness.

"I knew it," Sam groans, tossing her head back and staring at the ceiling. She's sure if Lena feels the need to call it out that it can't be good. "Lay it on me."

"I invited Andrea."

"Lena..." Sam forces her eyes closed. Just the name of her least favorite person and/or corporate adversary ratchets her temperature skywards as she tries to control her annoyance. Why does Andrea always have to be part of things, particularly when there's finally peace? It's like Lena is going out of her way to sabotage everything before it even gets started.

There isn't really a concrete explanation for her distaste. She just hates Andrea Rojas, okay? Sometimes it isn't that deep. She's Lena's oldest friend, and her ex-girlfriend, which Sam wants to believe isn't relevant to her feelings. But mostly, she's just a certified, grade A bitch, and spending time with her in any capacity is a large ask. The last time they were together, at some corporate gala several years ago, Andrea made a big show of talking to everyone but Sam, as if to make a point. But when she did come around, she made sure to insult everything about her from her appearance to her choice in alcohol. Sam ultimately had to pretend to be super interested in Dana the accountant from Lord Technologies and her lactose intolerant cat just to avoid throwing her drink in Andrea's face.

"I know. I know how you feel about her, but I just want everyone to have one night where they can put all that aside you know?" Lena explains, as if Sam is the problem.

Sam scoffs. "I don't think I'm the one you have to worry about--"

"--She will be fine, she's mellowed over the years."

"Right, and I'm reverse aging." Lena doesn't reply, and Sam sighs. "I didn't even think you liked her after...everything."

Lena and Andrea had a massive falling out several years ago, which Sam had to bear witness to with all of its painful back and forth, so it's quite shocking Lena would even entertain the possibility of interacting with her socially. Sam knew they were getting "cozy" again due to their business dealings, but she didn't realize it had spread to something more congenial.

"I've decided to leave the past in the past," Lena replies. "Having her around again just reminds me of all the things I've let get in the way. I'm turning a new leaf."

"That's big of you," Sam says, rolling her eyes. She takes her change from the barista and angrily bites into her cake. Thank God for carbs. "You're turning soft," she says, her mouth still full. She doesn't have it in her to care.

"Hm, funny coming from you. Are you eating?" Lena asks, her voice surprised, like eating is a foreign concept. Sam supposes, where Lena is concerned, it probably is. "Nevermind. Anyway, let's talk about dessert. You're always the best at that." Sam glances around, searching fruitlessly for the hidden camera she's sure L-Corp has planted here. "Can you bring those cookies you made for the office holiday party that one year?"

"Chocolate gingerbread? You didn't even eat them."

"No, but Kara likes them...."

"Ah," Sam nods knowingly. "Kara."

"Don't."

Sam laughs. "Sure, I'll bring those cookies to the party that's most definitely not happening because Kara is making you throw it. I'll bring whatever you want, as long as you have the liquor."

"Of course I do," Lena chastises. "And Sam?"

"Mm?"

"Be nice."

"I'm always--" the phone clicks. "--Nice," Sam finishes, staring at the disconnected call, her mind still trying to process everything that just happened. She puts her phone in her pocket and takes another decidedly aggressive bite of her cake.

She heads back out into the world, her holiday cheer significantly dimmed to a more casual holiday twinkle. She can't believe she's going to have to spend an entire evening making nice with Andrea Rojas.

She gets to the end of the street before she realizes she just left Noonan's without the chocolate gingerbread cookies -- which, yes, fine, she didn't bake for the holiday party but actually bought from the store last minute because she's not Betty fucking Crocker. Sometimes a mom just needs to catch a break.

Waiting in line for the second time, she ruminates over her misfortune. Just a few minutes ago, everything was merry and bright. Now she's got a dull headache that even the sugar can't fix.

Andrea Rojas, seriously?

Happy fucking holidays.

 

Xxx

 

The party is typical Lena, with a side of Kara --- expensive booze, fancy hors d'ouvres and random decorations thrown haphazardly all over the space to make it look "cheerful". Sam feels like she's in the middle of a corporate snow globe on take your child to work day, and actually, it fills her with a weird sense of longing. Lena's smile is the brightest she's ever seen it. She's buzzing around the room, operating as the ever-attentive host, while Kara bounces from person to person with a hundred-watt smile and a candy cane in her mouth. It makes sense, and it fits in all the ways it shouldn't. Before Sam can really put too much thought into it, Kara appears, handing her a candy cane with a wink in exchange for the plate of cookies -- which she immediately uncovers as she places them on the table. Sam chuckles to herself, holding up the candy cane with a shrug aimed at Lena who is looking at her with a questioning stare. She mouths "be nice" and Sam makes a show of putting the candy cane in her mouth. Quickly, she makes her way to the overstocked bar to pour herself a hefty drink.

The doorbell rings a few minutes later, but Lena is preoccupied with some sort of reindeer antler headpiece emergency, and she looks apologetically at Sam.

"Hey can you get that?" she asks, her eyes pleading as Kara fixes the headband on top of her head. Kara must have actual super powers in order to get Lena Luthor to agree to don actual gay apparel, because this is certainly something. Sam tries to stifle a laugh, which only prompts a very irritated glare from Lena.

"Okay, okay," Sam grumbles. "Calm down, Prancer."

She downs her drink in one go, taking pleasure in the sharp way it burns down her throat. With a bow toward Lena, she turns and heads to the door. She doesn't even stop to think about how everyone else is already inside -- all the people she's keen on seeing, anyway -- because if she had stopped to think about it, she would realize that the only possible person it could be is the exact person she's been dreading.

But of course she doesn't think about it.

She throws open the door, bellowing, "Happy--" before realizing she's face to face with Andrea Rojas, the wicked witch of Obsidian North herself. It couldn't have been more perfect timing if she tried. She swallows heavily, grimacing. "--holidays," she whispers, right into Andrea's face.

It's strange how everything seems to fade to nothing as her mind catches up with the fact that Andrea is suddenly standing across from her. Sam has to admit -- begrudgingly, and strictly privately-- that she looks good. Her caramel hair is soft and layered, her make up flawless. Sam's eyes are drawn to her lips, which is a common occurrence, since they have always been overly pouty and full and obnoxiously pretty. She immediately clears her throat. It's uncomfortably hot in the house, and she shakes her head to try to rid herself of this daze she's in.

"Andrea," she breathes, her cheeks blazing. "Uh, come on in."

Andrea twists her lips, appraising her with smug indifference. "I see Lena has you checking coats now." Her eyebrow raises up in challenge. She takes hers off and hands it to Sam as she walks through the door.

"She doesn't--" Sam starts, but Andrea has already brushed past her. "Hello to you, too."

Sam closes the door loudly and eyes the closet, where she promptly throws the coat on the floor without even trying to hang it up.

"Lena!" Andrea croons. She strolls easily into the middle of everything, arms extended, and Lena immediately turns to her. The reindeer headpiece is quickly confiscated and tossed aside, much to Kara's dismay. Sam watches the way they greet each other, with air kisses on the cheek, all pretentious and cold and condescending. Something about it makes Sam burn with a low rumbling rage.

She preferred the antlers.

"Andrea!" Lena's thick accent holds on to the vowels of the name a little too long, and Sam purses her lips. "So glad you could make it."

"I wouldn't miss it," Andrea declares, procuring a bottle of very expensive whiskey from out of nowhere. Lena's face lights up.

"You remembered!"

"Of course," Andrea grins triumphantly. Her gaze somehow finds Sam across the room and she juts her chin upwards before returning her attention back to Lena. "You never forget your first, right?"

Sam flexes involuntarily.

"Wow," a voice says by Sam's ear. She glances over at Kara's coworker Nia, who is clutching a glass of wine and staring unabashedly at the display. "It sucks having a hot boss."

Sam barks an unexpected laugh at that, since it is the exact opposite of what she expects Nia to say. She wishes she couldn't relate but, well, that seems to be just her luck also.

"How is it working for her?" she can't help but ask.

Nia takes a long sip. "Oh, she's awful, don't get me wrong," she replies, shaking her head as if just the memory is too much to keep in her mind. "But she just... looks like...that," she gestures vaguely and Sam hates that she understands. "Do you know her?"

"Unfortunately," Sam replies. She grins as she leans closer, sensing a camaraderie with Nia despite only talking to her a handful of times at various Kara-inspired social events. "Casual enemies."

"You need another drink then," Nia says, chuckling. She places a gentle hand on Sam's shoulder. "I'll be right back."

Sam breathes a sigh of relief at the unexpected alliance. As she maneuvers around the room to follow Nia to the bar set up, she feels a slight tug on her sleeve.

"I'll take a martini," Andrea says, her sharp blue-green eyes narrowing at Sam. Her lips curl into a wicked grin as her eyebrows waggle knowingly. "Extra dirty."

"I'm not a fucking waiter," Sam scoffs, crossing her arms. Her fingers caress the spot where Andrea touched her, as if she's been scorched by flames. "Get it yourself."

"Oh, I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers. I just assumed, since it was Lena's party, that you'd be handling all of...that." Andrea gestures, fluttering her fingers into the air in a dismissive wave.

Sam has no idea what the hell any of that means, except that it's just Andrea trying to make some kind of point. Something about Sam always having to do Lena's bidding, blah blah blah. She's heard it all before. Andrea has some weird fascination with their working relationship, but she doesn't want to get into it right now. It isn't worth it, and she's not nearly drunk enough to unpack all their baggage and throw down in the middle of Lena's living room for the honor of... what, exactly? Who knows.

Incensed, she continues on past Andrea, glancing back over her shoulder only once, where Andrea's eyes are still trained on her, watching with an amused smile.

She makes the fucking drink, but only because everyone else is preoccupied and it's annoying. Lena is in a spirited debate with Alex about some kind of bioengineered weaponry, or some other such technological invention that Sam can't even begin to comprehend. Kara is giggling in the corner with Kelly, no doubt conspiring about how to get Alex to play some ridiculous board game with them later. Sam's been to enough of these to know everyone's patterns. The only wrench in the entire thing is Andrea, who sits casually on the couch, her eyes prowling as she takes it all in.

"There you are! Here." Nia hands her a glass of scotch. "What'd I miss?"

"I'm apparently the bartender," Sam says, angrily tossing an olive into the martini she's making. "Ta-Da."

"Is that for--" Nia nods her head in Andrea's direction.

"Yep."

"That's...generous," Nia says. She glances at it with a glint in her eye. "Did you spit in it?"

"No!" Sam swats her gently on the arm. "I should have though..."

"You're a better person than I am," Nia chuckles. It's enough to allow Sam to gather herself and put on a brave face as she waltzes back out to the party. She heads over to Andrea, who clicks her tongue in lieu of a thank you. Sam pulls it away.

"Listen, I'm not your maid," she says, handing her the drink once more. Andrea takes it, sighing with boredom. "You don't like me, and I don't like you, so let's just get through one night and be done with it. There's no need to make a scene."

Andrea watches her with an amused smile, her eyes glimmering in the glow of the holiday lights. Sam swallows heavily. She's never actually addressed their animosity before, but it feels fucking fantastic.

"I never said I didn't like you," Andrea says, her voice dark and low. She leans in closer, a smirk pulling at the corner of her lips. "To be quite honest with you Sam, I don't think about you enough to have an opinion."

Sam shakes her head, scoffing to herself. "Then let's keep it that way, how about that?"

"Cheers," Andrea says, holding up her drink. She takes a sip and nods, and Sam hates her.

There's so much she wants to say -- mostly vague insults that don't even make a lot of sense but would feel so good to unleash -- but she doesn't. She's not going to let Andrea win. With a huff, she spins on her heel and retreats back to the corner with Nia, who is blushing furiously as Brainy stumbles through a compliment.

Sam stands next to the two of them as they banter uncomfortably -- she wants to just shake Brainy by the lapels of his jacket and tell him to ask Nia out already -- but she doesn't. She allows them to keep dancing around the topic while she keeps drinking, getting more sour by the minute.

Eventually her attention returns across the room, where Lena is grinning a dimpled smile at Kara, looking as happy and relaxed as ever and Sam's eyes soften at that. It's a rare sight, to see Lena Luthor at ease with a group of people, and it almost lifts her own spirits until a familiar voice is in her ear.

"When are you going to stand up for yourself?"

Sam glances over, only to be met with an icy Andrea Rojas stare. She glances quickly to her side for back up, but Nia and Brainy have retreated to the kitchen. She's alone and defenseless and wholly unprepared for another encounter. She goes to take another sip of her drink but finds it tragically empty. Great.

"What are you talking about?" Sam asks, discarding her glass and crossing her arms.

"I love when you play dumb, it's very becoming on you," Andrea says casually, pretending to be focused on the stirring straw in her own drink. Sam shakes her head, still uncomprehending.

"When are you going to use your words and stop being a doormat?" Andrea nods over to where Lena is draped over Kara, laughing at some ridiculous story, still unabashedly relaxed and happy and so unlike herself that it's almost impressive. Sam follows Andrea's gaze and grits her teeth. "She doesn't know how badly she's hurt you."

The alcohol burns in Sam's stomach. She doesn't know why Andrea even cares, or why she feels the need to pounce on her when all she's doing is minding her own damn business.

"She hasn't," Sam shrugs, turning her back on the scene in question. "I'm fine."

"You're a terrible liar," Andrea muses. "But suit yourself. If you want to stay pushed to the side and curled up in the corner, be my guest."

"I thought you didn't care what I did."

"Call me a softy for someone in need," Andrea teases. It would be endearing if Andrea was genuine, or if Sam was slightly more drunk, but she knows Andrea well enough to know it's probably ninety percent sarcasm. She immediately stiffens.

"I'm not a charity case. I can handle myself."

"Clearly."

They stand together for a few more minutes, watching the rest of the party. Sam becomes painfully aware of Andrea's proximity, the way she hovers just close enough to be noticeable. So much so, that she hardly notices anything else. It's infuriating how distracting she is. They've always had this weird tension, this thorny back and forth that borders on something else. She always assumed it was mostly on her end -- she never liked Andrea, mostly out of loyalty to Lena, and also for the fact that she's too attractive to be this insufferable. But there's a jealousy that burns deep, something that she doesn't understand the origin of. She can definitely tell -- objectively -- that Andrea is attractive. Just like she can acknowledge anyone with particularly defining features. It doesn't mean anything. But the way Andrea always seems to be around, the way she always seems to know what to say to get a rise of out of her--

"Moping doesn't suit you," Andrea interrupts quietly. She looks at Sam with an almost sincere expression. "You're better than that."

"I'm not moping," Sam retaliates. She's not. She feels fine, actually. And was that almost a compliment? Andrea studies her with an inscrutable expression and Sam pinches the bridge of her nose. She's getting a headache. This entire night has been a little more exhausting than she was prepared for, mostly thanks to the person standing next to her. She squares her shoulders and forces a smile. "I'm just taking a breather."

"Whatever you say," Andrea holds her hands up in surrender. "Enjoy your...breather."

"Andrea! Sam!" Kara prances up to them before Andrea can sneak away. "We need two more for charades!"

"Awesome," Sam mutters, just as Andrea tries to excuse herself.

"Please?" Kara asks, pulling both of them by their hands. She's surprisingly strong, and Sam is admittedly delighted at Andrea's discomfort, so she allows herself to be dragged. Andrea shuffles awkwardly as she tries to resist, before ultimately giving in. "You can be on my team!"

"Great!" Sam fakes a smile and nudges Andrea. "Isn't that great?"

"Perfect," Andrea deadpans, looking about as far from happy as she can get.

Once the teams are carefully curated -- Sam, Andrea, Kara, and Lena against Kelly, Alex, Brainy and Nia -- it becomes difficult to focus on anything else. Sam easily slips into competition mode, which is necessary, since everyone on her team is particularly cutthroat. With the exception of Kara, who wants to win, but probably won't kill someone to do it.

Alex goes first, and Kelly guesses all of her clues before she barely has to act, which is an unparalleled feat. It borders on unfair, but no one argues, mostly because they all share a collective group fear of Alex Danvers. Even Andrea simply purses her lips and silently sips her drink, content to stay out of whatever all this is.

For her trouble, Kelly is rewarded with kisses and an embrace while Kara receives a 'told-you-so' glare from Alex. Sam finds it endearing, a warmth spreading through her chest as she grins at them. She accidentally catches Andrea eye with a dopey smile on her face. But Andrea doesn't make any caustic comments. There's a silent understanding that seems to pass between them that they are so far out of their element with all this, that in fact, Andrea almost smiles. Sam's heart stumbles over itself and she looks away quickly.

To everyone's surprise, Andrea offers to go next. Sam is thrilled by the prospect, because she can't imagine Andrea doing anything so...ordinary. But she watches as Andrea puts on a brave face, selects her card and bites her lip in concentration, before scoffing to herself. The whole display takes probably five seconds, and it shouldn't be so erotic, but something low in Sam's stomach drops even lower. She crosses her arms tightly against her chest, as if to keep the feeling from escaping.

Andrea tosses the card aside and sashays to the center of the room.

For whatever reason, her eyes stay patiently focused on Sam, as if they're the only two playing. Kara throws out random, chaotic guesses, but Andrea remains poised and composed, not even acknowledging the effort. Sam squints, trying to focus on things other than Andrea's appearance, and the dress that distractingly hugs every curve of her body, before she finally starts successfully guessing. It turns out, Andrea's pretty good at this game. Her Devil Wears Prada clues are startlingly accurate, and when Sam guesses Miranda Priestly only partially kidding, Andrea smirks at her before moving to the next one.

It goes on like that for some time -- Brainy breaks his clues down into such specific components that no one can even begin to guess what he's doing, and Kara's attempts at re-enacting a movie scene almost end with a broken coffee table. When it's Sam's turn, she chooses to rip her blazer open with a dramatic flourish -- the clue is Supergirl -- and her cheeks blaze red and hot as Andrea laughs heartily at her impression before guessing it right. Sam laughs too, mostly at how ridiculous she feels, but also because for the first time, Andrea doesn't seem to be laughing at her. Their eyes meet and it's like they're in on some sort of joke that only the two of them get, and even though Sam couldn't tell you what it is, she feels strangely happy.

"She doesn't do that!" Kara insists, jumping up in protest at the Supergirl clue. Alex swats her and she sits down with a huff. "Well, she doesn't," she mutters, and Lena offers a comforting pat on her back.

As the game keeps going, and they keep drinking, Sam notices she's once again in very close proximity to Andrea. It seems inevitable, and she wonders what that's all about. She has no idea how or when, but Andrea is now curled up on one end of the couch and Sam is leaning against the same arm rest. At one point, when everyone is ganging up on Nia for a particularly terrible interpretation of Deck the Halls which involved punching the air, Andrea's hand lands absentmindedly on Sam's thigh. It's so distracting that Sam forgets what everyone else is talking about, focusing only on the way Andrea's fingers linger for several long seconds before she shifts away. Sam wonders at the contact, but more than that, she finds herself aching for it when it's gone.

It's most definitely the alcohol, but it seems to be doing the trick to calm her nerves and help her actually enjoy the party. When Sam says something particularly clever, Andrea leans against her shoulder encouragingly and offers a glimmering smile. After while, Sam catches herself shadowing the small of Andrea's back as she leans forward. She doesn't dare push her luck, or try to actually touch her, but it's enough to be a presence, and she's sure Andrea feels it, too.

When Andrea turns and winks at her, Sam's stomach swan dives into oblivion.

The game eventually ends in controversy, with Kara only partially guessing Lena's clue -- It's a Wonderful Life -- missing the word 'wonderful' and just bellowing 'It's a Life!', which isn't completely wrong, but isn't close to being right, either. Alex looks poised to tackle her, but before she can, Lena smoothly navigates everyone's attention away from the game and off to choose what holiday movie to watch.

It's why she's the CEO of a multibillion dollar corporation. Everyone falls into line without realizing she's even given an order. 

Sam strategically picks this moment to leave. While Kara and Alex debate whether Die Hard is a true Christmas movie -- Sam's on Alex's side in the affirmative -- she slowly backs away until it's safe to turn the corner. It isn't that she doesn't want to stay, or hear more back and forth debates from the Danvers sisters, or watch Lena fumble over herself in Kara's presence, because that's all very entertaining. But she feels strangely content, considering how the evening started, and she doesn't want to ruin the good vibes she's finally achieved. She managed to get through a whole event with Andrea without getting into a bar fight, so it feels appropriate to cut and run before it can turn sour.

Speaking of Andrea, she seems to have disappeared, which is only a little disappointing. Okay, it's a lot disappointing, because for whatever ridiculous reason, she's the only person Sam would consider staying later for. It's probably the scotch, or maybe it's just the holiday spirit, but whatever it is, her feelings about Andrea are jumbled and strange, and she wouldn't mind detangling them a little further. But it's just as well. She isn't sure they could really put closure on a night like this, so perhaps it's best that she sneak away. The drinks were making them dangerous, and she doesn't want to have to explain herself in the harsh light of day.

Just as she's heading down the hall, she catches something out of the corner of her eye. When she turns, she notices Andrea standing in the corner, looking regal and tempting. The softness of the holiday lights reflects off her in such a way that she's practically glowing, and Sam has to steady herself before she can approach.

"Well now who's moping?" she jokes as she steps up to her. Andrea doesn't move, as if she's rooted to the spot.

"I'm not," Andrea declares smugly. She glances up slightly. Sam follows her eyes and realizes what they're standing under. The mistletoe is hung deliberately, as if daring her to do something.

"Oh--" Sam takes a step back so she's no longer under it with Andrea. "I didn't realize..."

Andrea pulls her by the tie back into her space. The movement is swift, and Sam's feet follow quickly. "Please tell me you aren't actually this dumb."

"I--" Sam hesitates, getting caught in the brightness of Andrea's eyes. She forgets words entirely when her gaze flickers over the fullness of her lips. Lips she's thought about on more than one occasion, purely by accident, but that are now inches from her own and completely irresistible.

It happens in a rush, in a breath, in a flurry, and suddenly they're kissing and Andrea's hands move to frame Sam's face. She's surprisingly gentle as she leans into her more fully. The wind leaves Sam's lungs and she feels like she's falling, fast and desperate, her mind only able to procure one thought: more. Andrea's tongue pushes deeper into her mouth, which elicits a whimper from one or both of them, Sam can't be sure. She pulls at Andrea's hips with a frantic desperation, trying to eliminate any space between them. It feels more incredible than she could have ever imagined -- because how is this even happening? -- but Andrea is warm and perfect and decisive and sexy. When they break apart, Sam instantly misses the feeling of holding her close.

"That wasn't half bad," Andrea grins, looking more flustered than her voice conveys. Sam's heart pounds heavily in her chest.

"We should do it again sometime," Sam agrees breathlessly, already desperate for it to be sometime.

"I'll think about it," Andrea says, turning on her heel and heading for the door. She's so confident and sure that Sam wonders if she's even had any effect on her at all.

She wants to reach out, wants to say something else, wants desperately for this not to be the only time. It can't just be because of mistletoe, right?

"I thought you didn't think about me!" Sam finally calls out after her.

Andrea pauses at the threshold.

"Now I guess you know," Andrea says over her shoulder. She shrugs, as if it's the most casual confession in the world. "Merry Christmas, Sam."