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Painted Green, Covered in Red

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8

            “What was your name again?”

Look, if Amity knew days earlier that she was going to meet the most terrifying person on earth today, she would have come prepared, printing out her resume that included all her achievements from when she was five until now, and she would have worn more proper clothing and not, for King’s sake, the style her girlfriend had picked out for her, which was a pink and white crop top and a short, pink skirt.

In the past few months, Amity had made more blunders than she had ever done in her whole life-courtesy of Luz Noceda-and while she might have regretted some of them and enjoyed most of them, this was still something she deliberated on: whether not fake dating and not refusing her suitors was much better than going through this right now.

She felt miserable.

Her palms were clammy as she sat with her legs crossed under the table, fingers shaking as they tapped against her bare skin, and although the windows were closed, the room was chilly. Beside her, Luz fidgeted nervously, and Amity was sure that her hands were clasped together on her lap even without looking down at it.

Under the pressure of being stared down by sharp, brown eyes that belonged to a much older woman, Amity was given the choice to change her mind and say that she can breathe, then she could leave this place alive, with her dignity intact and with Luz mauled alive.

From across the two, Edalyn Clawthorne looked at them bemusedly as she chugged down a glass of apple blood, and no, Amity was not anxious or wary (okay, maybe a little bit) around the woman, but there was no doubt that she was currently high-spiked queasy and uptight with their other company.

It was at this moment that Amity found out someone could radiate more fear in their aura alone- more than her mother, Odalia Blight, could.

What freaked her out even more was that the food served at the table was normal, unlike that weirdly blue food Luz kept on insisting to have when they were together. Her person made no complaints and Amity swore that her face was deathly pale. There was a thick tension over the table and a knife seemed like it would not be able to cut through it.

In the first place, how did she end up sitting in the dining table with Eda and the Nocedas?

No one spoke, which made the silence deafening for the guest. Save for Eda, no one else dared to touch the food, even though the dishes’ appetizing scent filled Amity’s nostrils and made her stomach rumble. She sat frozen because of the calculating look on Camila Noceda’s face as she took the teenager in, and Amity was afraid that if she made the slightest movements, the former would flip the table over and scream her disapproval at her.

Luz, Amity hissed mentally and cursed the girl, I’m going to burn you alive if I live through this.

            Amity never would have thought this meeting to be possible. Well, six months was a lot of time and while she did consider the possibility that Luz’s family would find out, she did not think that she would be introduced after being caught in a misunderstanding that would lead to her doom.

            “Now, explain to me why I caught my own daughter…” Camila started slowly in a lower octave which sent chills down Amity’s back, before she continued, eyeing the teenagers as she said, “on top of you, in her room, in her bed, earlier?”

Whenever her mother would scold her, or when her siblings would prank her when she was younger, Amity Blight never cried. When they first lost a game in rugby or she got a lower grade than last quarter, she still held her head high. When she first realized that she was most likely probably, having the biggest crush on her fake girlfriend, it made her heart skipped a beat and she was angry at herself for letting her ‘impeccable’ plan backfire in her face.

But God, this was probably the most humiliating thing that has ever happened. She stayed mummed as both adults’ eyes were focused on them and Amity cursed the day she agreed to this. Her mind reeled back to just yesterday, when she voiced out that she was okay with the idea and was then directed to the situation at hand.

_

“My mami wants to meet you.”

Amity almost spat out the ice cream.

Two weeks had passed since the incident happened and Amity woke up being spooned by her person. She remembered the bliss on Luz’s face and the way they were nestled together in the middle of the bed. Sunlight pierced through her windows, and she was glad that her back was turned or else she would have never been able to sleep so unperturbed. On the one hand, it painted Luz’s brown locks in rich gold, with the messy tips sticking out everywhere, glittering. She recalled tracing Luz’s jawline, with painted nails brushing against uninjured dark skin, dancing lightly atop the rough edges of the bandages. Luz sighed in content under her touch, the hand settled in Amity’s hair pushing her forward into her chest and the shorter girl let it happen, face buried comfortably in the crook of Luz’s neck.

Amity’s face warmed up at the memory of when she wrapped her arms around a broader back, with hand slipping under Luz’s undershirt and skimming over it softly, careful not to hit any sensitive spots or the blue and purple bruises that she could not see, unlike the visible ones that decorated one of Luz’s arms.

They stayed like that for the rest of the morning, with limbs tangled under thick blankets. The scene of pines mixed with lavender filled the bed, which reminded Amity of how they slept together, all bundled up and uncaringly so. She had her eyes closed but kept herself up until she heard Luz’s steady breathing and a small yawn slipped out of her chapped lips.

Luz stirred, eyes darting around slowly before it dawned on her that she was not in her room, Amity supposed. The hand on her head stilled for a moment, before Luz continued with her now conscious ministrations of running her dark fingers through Amity’s mint hair gently, letting her know that she was already awake.

Then, giddiness overtook her; Amity looked up to watch Luz through half-lidded eyes, and something tugged at her lips to smile, while the strings of her heart were strummed into a tune that was probably so cheesy the past her would have facepalmed. Luz blinked at her, as if to say, Oh, you were awake?

Amity had no idea if it was because she had just woken up, or if she could place the blame on what had happened in the past few months, because a sudden surge of confidence filled the heiress and she ended up cupping Luz’s face and placing a kiss on her nose. Luz squinted, with cheeks squished together by Amity’s hands and all she wanted to do was just continue to squeeze.

So she did.

It was funny for some reason because Amity giggled at the way Luz’s face was just mashed in-between her hands. She was unsure about where the sudden affection came from, but she could either attribute it to being so early in the morning and her filter was still turned off, or because it had been way too long since she had received any kind of touch from her person.

Both.

Amity starved for the physical affection the other girl had gotten her used to and she should have been mad at that but that can be a problem for future Amity.

They stared at each other in contemplation, with brows raised and amusement evident on their faces. This went on for a while until Luz shifted, her hands going up to repeat the same gesture, with warm palms pressing against each pale cheek and squeezing gently. The action made Amity’s brows furrow and she glared into brown eyes that held mischief in its midst.

Cheeky.

Amity growled silently as she shot Luz an annoyed look, which the girl returned with a playful grin. She vaguely remembered what happened last night, or how they ended up too close, with bodies comfortably pressed against each other. There was a time that Amity wondered about timing and if she had the obligation to return the sweet gestures, all the while she worried about being too intimate with her person and what others would have said about her. She might have messed up her reputation with the courters her parents had set her up with, but it was not like it mattered to Amity what they thought.

She was not going to be the heir of a prestigious business only to sit still and try to be pleasant to someone she obviously disliked. Amity worked her hardest to be the best student she could be and gave her all in even the littlest things given to her.  Unlike her brother or sister who were naturally talented, she was the type to have attained things by her own hands and through hard work, despite her parents’ influences and offers to give her the world.

That does not mean that she had not used the influence before when the situation called for it.

Luz was distinguishable from the people who shoved their wealth in Amity’s face and told her that a girl’s typical norm was to be uninvolved, and to only sit still and look pretty. The former did not mind her snarky tongue. She even told her not to suck it up because Amity could complain if she wanted to, since that was much better than being forced to like something she did not, and Luz understood that pretty well, being true to her words months later.

So, to lessen the stress she had been keeping which would most likely strain her body, Amity chose to stop asking questions on what she should do and started feeling instead.

You won’t forget to take me with you now, would you? Her mind cooed.

Of course not, Amity replied, I can’t lose my head unfortunately.

Hey!

After the teenagers bickered back and forth, which then morphed into them wrestling and Amity winning by throwing her prized pillows on Luz’s face and keeping her there, she made sure to take Luz to the hospital in the afternoon, but not without the expected whining and trying to drag the girl out of bed.

Because she did not want to tell Luz where she hid the former’s stolen clothing (Ha! They were Amity’s now), she lent the taller girl the baggiest clothes she could find (which was funny because Luz would have to wear something unfitting for her figure since they were literally not in the same height class) but fortunately for her, Amity found an unused purple hoodie and grey sweatpants.

“I look like a dad,” Luz complained but Amity only snorted and reached out to pinch her cheek.

She was starting to love this; there was just something about lending Luz her clothes and waiting for her to finish getting ready before they head out. It felt like absolute bliss and it embedded itself in her mind, how she preferred to live like this with someone and being able to have their own safe space.

It was just ironic to think that the person she spent her days with for the past few months was with someone unlikely. She watched as Luz surveyed herself in the vanity mirror before settling on crossing her arms and eyeing Amity suspiciously. Amity stared back, concentrated on the purple beanie atop her person’s head, with blotches of red stains dotting it. Without hesitance, the petite girl reached out and swiped it off damp, brown hair, much to Luz’s dismay.

“Yes, but you’re a whiny baby,” Amity replied as she sauntered off, leaving the girl huffing behind her as she placed the purple beanie in the wash bin. She would have to notify the maids not to have it washed as Amity was going to do it herself.

When she brought Luz to the hospital, they were tended to quickly as soon as Amity had spoken her name to the registrar. It was by accident that she had revealed it so, which her father had asked her about the day after, when they received intel that a Blight was at a hospital. He was not so empathetic at hearing her explanation, but she received not much of a sign of disapproval unlike from her mother who only had a hardened frown on her face at the news.

She might have mentioned the cause of the injuries a few more times than necessary and Odalia rolled her eyes but waved her off. This assured Amity that they were going to do something about those “meddlesome boys” that dared to ruin the Blight family name.

Luz was deemed fine and was certainly going to live when Amity had repeatedly asked for confirmation. She watched them replace the bandages and made tests after a few more hours, dedicatedly checking everything which made Luz slightly uncomfortable while Amity enjoyed watching from the side, listening as the taller girl groaned and complained that the prissy boys from school had ruined her clothes (most likely pertaining to the beanie).

Although she did have an inkling that the doctor lied when he said Luz needed to stay. While she concluded that it was for the money, it would not hurt to listen to him regarding Luz’s conditions. They transferred her to a suitable room for one person, where the two teens had fought over because a regular white room would have sufficed for the former, but Amity was stubborn and had paid even before Luz voiced out her disagreement.

Again, why did she ever think that she and Luz could agree on something?

“Just let me pay you back!” Luz exclaimed, almost frustratedly at the green-haired teen.

Amity bit back her tongue and replied in a calm demeanor, even though her glare was enough of a warning to her wounded person that there was no room for discussion.

“Luz, you can do whatever you want, I don’t care but we are not arguing about this,” Amity declared with finality.

However, as much as being a Blight had its privileges, rules were rules and they ushered Amity out afterwards so as to call on a family member to care for the wounded teen. Luz asked them to let her stay, but when the doctor replied that Amity had to be tired and it was nearly evening when everything was finished, she shut up. Most likely, Luz felt bad about calling her at one in the morning the night before and Amity would not have denied that she was exhausted, but she would have stayed, nevertheless. She texted Luz’s rough-looking phone and asked the girl to inform her when she was ready to leave the hospital instead.

Jerky Noceda: You do know I hate it when you spend stuff on me, right? 6:43 p.m.

6:45 p.m. We literally just finished talking about this. Pay me back with ice cream, whatever.

Jerky Noceda: That’s not even a comparable price! 6:50 p.m.

6:52 p.m. Fine! Take me out to dinner or something, do what you want!

Fast forward, Luz was a lot better now. The color returned to her face, brown skin showing no indication that she had been battered and bruised weeks prior. Her eyes shone brightly, as if it held an unexplored galaxy, but instead of scaring Amity, it drew her in as if she were an adventurer excited to make mysteries known to her.

God, when did she become such a sap?

They were hanging out in the park, after Luz popped back in the Manor, this time, with a ladder to aid her in climbing the Manor gate. When the alarms shot off, Amity was thankful that her parents were out for the day just as soon as she caught Luz outside her window, a flower in hand.  The ladder was barely holding up and Luz was gripping on the windowsill tightly, with eyes nervously flickering down to her feet.

Amity was not amused.

Luz insisted they spend the Saturday off and reluctantly (more like eagerly) the Blight agreed after she pulled the girl in her room, along with the ladder.

Over the past few days, Amity dared to notice, that they were much clingier than they were before the photo mishap. She returned just as much physical affection as Luz did and there seemed to have been an unspoken competition between them when they did so. Whenever Luz would try to sneak in a kiss or hold her closer in front of people, Amity, who did not want to lose, preferred to wrap her arms around the other girl and snuggle closer, a smirk on her face at the reactions they get (although personally, she was trying to get a reaction out of Luz more than anyone else).

There was even a time that Willow looked at them in mock(genuine) disgust while Gus stared at them as if they were strangers.

The couple sat on a free bench that oversaw the park, snickering and talking about the couples that passed by and making up their own scenarios as to what was currently transpiring in their minds. They were in the middle of arguing about how atrocious it was to propose to someone in McDonald’s without even getting together first (and of course Luz would disagree), when Luz brought up the thing about her mom, which immediately sent Amity short-circuiting.

“She what?”

            In all honesty, Amity did not think she was important enough to be mentioned, but Luz must have just talked about her in passing. After all, the heiress never did ask Luz about how often her mom let her out, seeing as she left her home early in order to be at the manor in time for both of them not to be late.  Then there were the weekend dates they had, which lasted mostly the whole day.

Luz licked the chocolate off her lips before reaching over to chomp off a large piece of Amity’s mint ice cream. She made a disgusted noise and pushed Luz’s face away as if to say, this is mine!

            “Oh, c’mon, Mittens! I paid for it!” Luz inched closer as Amity struggled to shove her off.

“Don’t call me that, stupid, you aren’t my sibling!” Even just the thought of having Luz as a sibling made her sick. She much rather preferred the Spanish endearments than being called mittens by her person.

Although Amity might be the stronger person between the two, Luz was quicker, taller and faster, unfortunately. She tried to reach over for the ice cream, probably for the sake of competition than actually liking the flavor, and with an impulsively brilliant idea, Amity pushed Luz away and opted to lick the totality of the ice cream which she hoped would gross her person out enough for her to give up. It was not childish per se, but her parents could have considered that possibility if they saw her right now.

            When she felt Luz pause, Amity turned her head back to her and gave her a triumphant look, a grin plastered on her soft lips. Luz stared at her for a second, as if she was deliberating something before it looked like the gears in her head turned and finally clicked. Amity’s face morphed into one of horror when Luz grabbed her wrist and bit off a chunk of her mint ice cream.

That she just finished licking.

“Noceda, that’s gross as hell!”

            Luz scoffed, smacking her lips to savor the taste. This elicited an internal scream from the heiress, with her ears turning hot at the tips as she felt her heart dropped dead in her chest. She whipped her head back and averted her gaze while Luz most definitely made intended noise with her mouth.

God, Amity prayed, Please help me stop myself from putting a stone in her mouth.

            When her mind began to suggest how placing her lips on Luz was much easier than finding a stone big enough to fit that dirty mouth, Amity tuned out (with a lot of struggle) and focused on the silhouettes of ducks in the faraway lake instead. Her leg bounced impatiently as her eyes darted around restlessly, just to distract herself from Luz who was most likely enjoying the teasing.

“You should work on your ice cream taste, Blight. Or maybe try not to lick it before I get to taste it. It might have messed up the taste and you know; it might have tasted better separately.

Was she flirting right now?

No, this was Luz.

She did not even need to check the girl beside her to know that a shit-eating grin appeared on those lips that will soon bleed if she did not shut up. Before Amity could decide if she wanted to shove the rest of the ice cream down Luz’s pants, her person continued the earlier topic.

“So I’ve been wearing the beanie you gave me, like a ton of time-”

“By now, I think you mean all the time. I hope you wash it at least twice a week because I could have sworn the red one was-” Amity interrupted but was immediately cut off when Luz flicked her forehead.

“-whatever, Blight-she was wondering about it and Eda told her we were dating…And she might have searched for your name when the hospital told her that a Blight brought me in.” Her voice turned into a whisper at the last part.

Amity replayed the sentence spoken to her and paled when a bunch of worries bombarded her mind and plagued her thoughts regarding Camila Noceda’s perception of her, especially that now, as she reminisced on the many bruises she had given Luz over the years.

She’s going to hate me.

Would it matter though?

Luz must have sensed her uneasiness because she coughed and once again interlaced their fingers together, her thumb rubbing circles over Amity’s hand in a comforting manner. Amity wrinkled her nose at the stickiness that coated those dark fingers which had held a melting ice cream cone a few seconds ago, but did not pull away and instead, turned her hand to meet Luz’s larger one, palm to palm.

This made Luz chuckle as Amity gazed at her uncertainly, a frown on her lips. This erased the slight smile from the former’s face and she grimaced, opening her mouth to speak hesitantly.

            “Hey, I-I know it’ll be over in a month and it’s okay if you don’t want to-”

“Are you sure?” Amity cut her off.

Trepidation filled her lungs when she thought Oh right, their agreement was going to end in another month or so. She feared the fact that Luz kept it in mind more than she had, which made her anxious of how the other girl felt about all of what transpired. Just when she was learning to accept that she has indeed liked it this way; loved the way how Luz had brightened her world in comparison to the dullness of her environment before, it was ending quickly so soon.

Since Luz crashed into her life and existed more prominently than before, Amity would lay awake at night, knowing that she could act more freely than she ever has around people and had become more knowledgeable about what she liked and disliked without always pretending. She had a difficult time reimagining the days without the fluttering kisses and lingering touches that turned into laced fingers and tight hugs.

So of course, Amity wanted to. There were just so many things at stake; Firstly, what would become of them after this meet-the-parents thing? Nothing has been set in stone for the aftermath and Amity was not sure if she wanted to even think about it while she was holding an unfinished ice cream in her hand.  Second, why is Luz giving her a choice here, when she could introduce someone else for all she knew? It was not necessary to meet her mom, that was for sure, unlike the mandated parental meeting with the Blights, but everything was being made complicated. Third, what would Camila Noceda think of her? Oh, for King’s sake that was the worst of it all and there could only be one direct cause:

It was all because Amity wanted to meet the woman who held so much importance in Luz’s life, as a girlfriend.

Often, she disregarded the agreement in favor of focusing on the present even though at the end of the day, it was all she could think about. Then she thought to herself, that the word that must have gone through Luz’s mind when she first encountered Amity’s parents was Mierda.

Mierda this scenario she created for herself.

Luz stopped in her ministrations. She blinked twice, mouth gaping like a fish. Amity bit her lower lip and looked down at their fingers, the cold metal of Luz’s ring pressed against hers. She had become way too used to all of these things for the past few months; Luz had done more than Amity asked her for in their agreement. She only asked to pretend in front of the public, she thought they would just have their regularly scheduled street fights and then ignore each other before their breaks in school. But of course, Luz would not cooperate, of course she would have given it her best shot even though Amity did not ask her to do stupid gestures like sharing food, supporting her in games and picking her up or taking her out for dinner and movies then kissing her good night. The last thing she needed was a serenade which she was one hundred percent sure was something Luz would do.

But despite all those unnecessary measures, it had been…fun. Amity had fun.

She gained more than she could ever ask for.

“Of course, I’m sure.”

            She swallowed thickly at the unhesitant reply.

Luz cupped her cheek and forced her to look into chocolate brown eyes and spoke softly, saying, “We’ve known each other since freshmen year and you haven’t…you haven’t been formally introduced to my mom, but she is aware that we were uh, sort of, barely friends. I should be asking you if it’s alright because you have the power here, Amity.  You always had the power.”

            Luz kissed her knuckles, ice cream melting all over her fingers that held the cone. She really should have cringe at the stickiness her person had basically wiped onto her hand, but she could deal with that later.

Power. Amity zoned out at that word.

            Luz was right. In every deal Amity went through with, she had the upper hand because everything was set in her terms. It was favorable for the parties involved, yes, albeit much more advantageous for her. She knew what she was doing because she had been trained to do so for years, that it became natural for her to offer up things on the table as she handpicked the takers who would have been good enough not to disappoint her.

Power.

She pursed her lips and examined Luz’s face. Amity did not starve for getting more than she bargained for, but she was reluctant to share the particular power Luz had mentioned. Sharing placed things at risk and it scared her to share the choice with the girl staring back at her, patiently waiting for an answer. Amity could choose to go with the original plan and keep them both safe and at a distance, with no more emotional turmoil and probably reducing the costs her person had chipped off her budget, or she could tell her at some point in the remaining weeks they have with each other, which will give her some sort of closure because Luz could turn her down gently.

Then again, Amity would never let down her pride willingly and knowingly when Luz was just going to shatter her heart.

            Her mind drifted to the agreement they had months ago.

            Besides being top student, Amity can count on her hand the rules that she has broken in all her life. She was especially careful with the rules she set up for herself; she was oriented with her parents’ business and the laws on obligations and contracts. But speaking to a bunch of businessmen in a meeting room could not possibly compare to the idea of meeting Luz’s mom. Her parents would bribe the former if they did not like whatever Amity’s opinion was, but they would never succeed in scaring Camila Noceda, which was why it was frightening.

            “Ami, if you can face your mom every day, I assure you, this is nothing, okay?”

            That was somehow the problem. Amity knew exactly how to act in front of her mother, but not in front of someone Luz talks about so fondly. If the Latina had inherited her stubbornness from her mom, then Amity preferred making an enemy out of Odalia Blight than the former.

Luz squeezed her hand and placed a kiss on her temple in comfort.

            “Why are you afraid?”

            Why are you not afraid? Amity wanted to retort but bit her tongue. Even when Luz eventually came face-to-face with her parents, she showed no sign of stepping away; neither did she back down when she fought three hooligans all at the same time, Amity dreaded the fact that she might have a run-in with the police someday and she would have to bail her out, assuming Luz would call her first again. As she went over all those things, she replied with sarcasm.

            “Gee, I don’t know, Noceda. You make your mom sound terrifying because you rebel against teachers, you get into fights with drunkards, you stand up to my parents, but you respect your mom so much it’s unnerving. So how can I not be afraid?” Amity muttered. She wiped her hand on Luz’s bomber jacket which made Luz pull on her hair tie and smack her from behind.

            “Well, true, true. But knowing you and how much you overthink, I perfectly know your weaknesses!” Luz puffed out her chest as if she were proud of that fact.

Amity rolled her eyes and jibed, “Sure, Luz. It’s not as if I know that you fall on your knees when you see animals.”

            Those words colored Luz’s cheeks and she waved it off, mumbling about having to make herself more secretive. It was not like Amity made her own observations so she could get to know the person she had to spend a large amount of time with, that is a nada, nope, nope, fine, yes. So Amity saw Luz coo at a cat once, claiming it looked like the petite girl, then there was an incident when she suggested to bring a stray corgi (with a collar) home before Amity called the number on its tag, and there was also the time Luz tried to steal the bat from a cinema after they came out from watching an apocalyptic movie.

Amity shivered at the thought. If Edric had gone with them, Luz might have succeeded and would have forced Amity to be the other parent of the creature of the night, seeing as she called the green-haired heiress their kind. Luz waived her hands frantically to cover up the embarrassment etched on her face as she continued with a squeakier voice.

“I mean to say that you like to do everything perfectly. You’re thinking that you need to be good enough in front of my mom like how your mother asks you to,” She ruffled Amity’s hair as if she were a child and seriously, the girl was a blink away from literally shoving the melting ice cream in unspeakable places. She only stopped a second away from executing the plan at Luz’s next words.

            “Look, if you weren’t good enough, I wouldn’t have agreed to spending the past few months with you and suffer hours of seeing your pretty face. You’re worth my time, and you’re worth showing off to my mom, got it?”

Luz pouted, raising her hand and snapping her fingers in front of the heiress, as if to say, Got that, girl?

Oh.

Wait.

Wait.

            Amity stared at her, trying to grasp Luz’s strings of sentences altogether in its context. But all her stupid brain could process was the fact that Luz called her pretty.

            This was fairly new; Amity kind of made them up to be the couple that do not give out pretty compliments as much as they jabbed at each other. Depending on the compliment, it would either take her off guard or leave her astounded at the audacity of how Luz could possibly say that in front of a large crowd of people.

Like really, pretty pink chihuahua was the best she could come up with when there was so many else Luz could have complimented, from her physique to her status or even her attitude but no, she just had to be compared to a small dog that had a raging temper. She mentally rolled her eyes at that.

But then it hit her what Luz stated during their first meeting and that made her heart beat faster, as she gasped at the realization.

That means she was lying when she said that I was ugly!

            It might have been a simple hate comment from her friend slash enemy before, and it did not mean much to her other than to have given Luz a broken nose, but when she started to feel something different, the effect of those words had completely changed and it made her feel more pathetic than Luz intended it.

Like, seriously, imagine being told by your crush that you are not as appealing as people made you out to be, Amity had valid reasons to rejoice after the change of heart. So, the moment she was able to process that Luz had indeed unknowingly taken back her comment from before, a sinister grin appeared on her face, which disturbed Luz.

The girl backed away from Amity worriedly, the determined look on her face disappearing as she did so and obviously, she was not expecting Amity to lean forward as she moved back to the point that she almost fell off the edge of the wooden bench. From the looks of it, the expression on the heiress’ face must have been pretty terrifying for Luz to have turned a shade lighter.

“Why are you grinning?”

She smirked and mustered up the most flirtatious look on her face, lashes falling over her eyes as she came close enough to watch as Luz’s lips quivered, struggling to form a defense on her tongue about that left her puzzled, but froze completely when her eyes flickered down over to Amity who innocently licked her lips.

“You called me pretty.”

            Luz looked like a deer caught in the headlights. This spurred Amity’s teasing further, and oh, how she somehow loved that she was on the other side of the spectrum now, where she could make the other girl flustered until she turned into a tomato.

Oh, oh, oh! Her mind chanted cheerily.

“Oh, you’re falling for me, aren’t you?” She whispered, heart pounding in her chest as she did so because this was the first time she was trying to get back at her and it was really something she could not describe-she felt elated but simultaneously nervous at how Luz would have returned the banter. She pushed the actual truth in those word to the far back of her mind and convinced herself that it was playful bickering and that she was not looking for an answer. Her teasing proved to be worth it as Amity cackled and leaned back, enjoying the way Luz’s skin flushed red as she frantically waved her arms, drops of ice cream flying around as Luz stuttered out incoherent words.

Her laughter was cut off abruptly when Luz swiped a chunk of ice cream from her cone and wiped it on Amity’s nose and cheeks. Needless to say, Amity did not hesitate in shoving the ice cream straight to that grinning mouth, unaware that their excited shouts had drawn attention to themselves, and the couples that they watched before were now the observers of the ice cream war Luz started.

            In the end, Amity agreed to meet her mom and was satisfied with the utter look of regret on Luz’s face when she teased her all the way back to the manor after they washed off the ice cream that melted between their fingers.

_

            “What do you mean I don’t need to wear a dress?”

            Just like the first day of their being fake girlfriends, Luz stared at her weirdly, as if she had already committed murder (Scratch that, she would have feigned surprised if that happened. Apparently this was weirder). Amity dragged her to the department store her parents had always brought her to when she was younger and when Luz asked why, Amity reasoned out that she needed to wear something extravagant to the dinner that evening.

            “Amity, you’re meeting my mom at my house. Not a world-class CEO who rented out a whole hotel for this dinner.”

            “Well, she might as well be!” Amity exclaimed, going over the dresses that the employee brought them. When her mother heard the news, she had given Amity an exclusive card to specific malls that they held in high regard, to her daughter’s disbelief.

            ‘You are a Blight, dear. You must establish that you are above them as soon as you step in their house.’

            She should have expected that from her mother, but Amity was grateful nonetheless, because she did not have to worry just how much it would cost her to meet a person whom her mother deemed regular, but she herself held in the highest regard. She took this as a sign that her parents have accepted the fake relationship, even though in the future they would most likely struggle to accept a marriage proposal.

            The girl stopped browsing momentarily, ignoring the complaints from Luz behind her. She ran her thumb through the silky, purple fabric presented to her, mindlessly. It was a strapless gown that spoke of elegance and royalty; but Amity already lost her focus. For most of her life, she had never cared about marriage, neither did she find any interest in being the one wedded. The fact that she had planned a schedule to temporarily date someone in order to have a few months of peace should have been enough proof that she did not exactly want to settle down.

But now that assured future seemed bleak.

She bit her lower lip. It was not as if she had thought about getting a hamster named Malingale and maybe a cat that she could train to attack Luz when she would come home late during a particularly hard day at work. No, the thought of cuddling up on the couch while watching all the Good Witch Azura movies Amity had missed as a child was not something that crossed her mind often. It was probably the adrenaline talking.

            Oh, who was she kidding-When had denial ever work?

Ever since the time Luz got injured, Amity wanted to always keep her in her line of sight. There were no words to describe just how terrified Amity was, to have lost sleep while waiting for Luz to text her back about her health. Her plan had already backfired on her and this was not the time to be berating herself because maybe it went deeper than a dumb crush, and Amity had only discovered the stupid feelings a few weeks ago.

Maybe even longer than that?

Don’t push it. Amity warned herself. The less attached she was, the less this would hurt. Inwardly, she scoffed at that; she was probably more than attached to the hip by now.

            “Amity?”

            She blinked before looking over to see that Luz was inspecting the thing in her hands, concern written all over her face. Amity’s eyes softened. Luz took the dress in her hands, muttering something about how expensive it was for such design, or maybe it was because of the brand, but Amity only watched as the taller girl debated with herself about the cost. Amity chirped in about how it was worth it for a meet-the-parents kind of event only to be countered by how Luz had met the Blights with a worn-out shirt and a bomber jacket.

“See, they approved of me! That means it wasn’t the clothes!”

Oh, it was definitely the clothes that gave you minus points.

Instead of saying that, Amity just hummed nonchalantly and shook her head at the way Luz’s ears twitched in a prideful way when she grinned and showed off her pearly whites. They lingered in the dress aisle a bit more for the reason that Amity was still quite hesitant in not being able to pick one which made Luz facepalm.

“How about I pick an outfit for you?” Luz finally offered after they browsed through the different clothing section, both grimacing at the prices. Her family might have been rich, but Amity preferred not to spend money on wants. She categorized Camila Noceda as a need because she needed to be her best self when meeting the mysterious mother, but still-

Why spend so much on something she was probably going to wear once and then shove it in her closet where it was never going to see the light of day again, afterwards?

So the thought of Luz picking out her outfit made Amity doubtful; yet at the same time, this was her mom that she was meeting so if there was anyone who knew what the adult wanted, it was her daughter.

But then again, this was also Luz they were talking about.

She chewed her lips and raised a brow at the suggestion, distrusting of her person’s choices.

“Okay, fine. But no hats.” Amity hissed, defeatedly.

Luz was truly unexpectable that even if one tried to guess what she would do, nobody would get it right, Amity was certainly correct in her observation because Luz insisted they leave the mall without buying anything only to head to the manor.

Amity should have known Luz would have shopped in her closet.

“You’re kidding me…” Amity mumbled to herself as she led Luz through the large halls, devoid of any other human beings. Large frames hung on the walls, with each member of the Blight family having their own spaces to be displayed on, while chandeliers glittered on the ceilings above. Luz was in awe that even as she walked behind Amity, her eyes trailed around each and every corner as if it was taking everything her memory could keep.

“I know I’ve been here before but I was carrying your dumb ass to your room with your siblings, then the last time, it was all dark. I’ve climbed your window more than I’ve actually set foot here. Now that I got a good look, geez, Blight. I knew you were rich, but this is like, what the fuck rich,” Luz stopped in her tracks to poke at a large and polished vase below one of Edric and Emira’s childhood photos. Amity turned back to grab her hand, panic falling over her face at the possible accidents her parents could frame her for.

In the corner of her eye, she caught the zooming of a camera she knew all too well. Luz seemed to understand this when she followed to look at where Amity’s eyes fell upon. She shrugged it off and allowed the girl to drag her up to the second floor, blabbering something about Amity’s mother and father owning hidden nuclear weapons that Amity decided not to deny.

“Oh my God, so they do?!” Luz exclaimed to herself. The way she freaked out made Amity roll her eyes, feigning annoyance even though the smile on her face said otherwise. When they reached her room, Luz strode in as if she owned the place and started opening doors-the door to her personalized bathroom, closet doors and gawking each time she did so.

“I don’t understand why you wanted to shop when you have a closet the size of my room! I bet you haven’t worn half of these.”

Luz scanned her folded shirts and pants that she had organized by color in the forefront of the room, while Amity hung in the back stricken at how Luz explored her wardrobe happily. She knelt beside her shoe stands, where sparkling heels that Amity was forced to use during one of her parents’ large parties stood out. Though Luz was right when she said that Amity had not even worn many of the clothes here since her mother liked to restock it every two weeks, discarding some that Amity had not even a chance to wear.

“Yes, well, can we actually find something your mom would like?” Amity huffed.

She approached the girl who lingered in front of Amity’s priced collection, err, Luz’s jackets which she hung up in the secluded corner, where it had more free space than the other ones that looked stuffed and forced to fit together.

“I already had an idea that you kept my clothes somewhere when I slept over but...” Luz gestured to her-Amity’s-jackets, brows raised teasingly, “to think you made space to add more for your collection, I am absolutely speechless, Amity.”

Before the familiar heat of her skin could reach her face, Amity reached to snatch the purple beanie off Luz’s head only to throw it somewhere behind her. She reveled in how Luz groaned and pushed her out of the way to retake her prized possession, muttering about how Amity should take more care about a gift she gave. She only rolled her eyes at that.

It took them awhile, Amity just sitting comfortably on her king-sized bed, as Luz rummaged through her casual shirts, which, to be fair, was as deep as the way to Narnia.  Kudos to her, she was putting the ‘rejected’ clothes back to where they were, which showed some semblance of discipline (or Amity might have threatened her, either way, it was a pleasant sight).

“This is taking forever,” the heiress sighed, falling backwards on the comforts of her blankets, and staring up at the gothic ceiling. Luz left her unanswered and instead, dug deeper, as if the closet was gradually swallowing her whole. She hoped that Luz was not collecting her (Amity’s) clothes. But even if she did, her person did not bring any bag with her to aid in taking it out of the mansion.

“Well, not all of us have tons of clothing, Ah-mity,” Luz chirped after popping out for what seemed like hours later, Amity nearly falling asleep at the (almost) uninterrupted silence. She sat up, eyes drooping and sight blurring as she made out the figure of Luz walking towards her, carrying something she most likely has not worn yet.

“What time is it?” Amity yawned just as Luz threw a white crop top beside her, leaving her question unanswered. The end of the sleeves were colored pink and the taller girl had paired the top with a short, pink skirt. She gawked at it incredulously. As if it was that unbelievable, she fixed her attention on Luz who gazed at her seriously, with arms crossed and sneakers tapping impatiently against the carpeted floor.

She was...not aware that this style of clothing was something Luz preferred, given that she liked to go out in striped shirts, green jacket, ripped jeans and combat boots most of the time. Regarding the other times-

Amity shivered at the memory of how Luz came to prom night last year, wearing an otter costume and getting immediately kicked out as soon as Principal Bump caught her stealing multiple snacks on the food table. Before the girl got out, she saw Amity holding in her laughter and had challenged her to a fight, screaming bloody murder but the former prom queen could not take her seriously back then, which led Luz to literally breaking her leg on the dance floor.

Her brows knitted in puzzlement when she held up the top. Luz hummed in approval and sat next to her, observing the exchange between Amity and her top. Half of the girl thought that this was some kind of joke because Luz wanted her to go to dinner, with her mother, in something not so formal and literally allows the frostbit of the breezy night to hug her from head to toe.

In weighing the pros, it would allow Amity to have an excuse in stealing more jackets; she could even open the closet in Luz’s room for that. On the other hand, Amity may have owned crop tops, but that did not mean that she has worn them. She just felt mildly uncomfortable whenever it would hike up, exposing her stomach and the cold would hit her bare skin. The same goes the short skirt.

“You want me to go to dinner with you. In this.”

“I think you’ll look really pretty in that,” Luz grinned, and finger gunned. She smiled comfortingly afterwards when she saw the unsure expression on Amity’s face and she laid a hand on the girl’s shoulder and said, “But it’s okay if you don’t like it, Ames. I mean, really, what’s the essence of wearing something you don’t like, am I right?”

Amity clicked her tongue and rubbed her thumb over the cotton fabric, doubts filling up her head. She was not only worried about how she would look, even though her mother had bought this outfit thinking it suited her, but what if Camila Noceda thought she was trying too hard?

She must have thought that aloud because Luz chuckled and sat beside her, amused.

“Amity, don’t you think my mother would find you trying too hard if you went with the designer gown we saw earlier?”

Touché.

Against her better judgement, Amity ended up trusting Luz’s intuition and went with it. Plus, it was far too late to go buy something new to wear for dinner, since the sun was nearly setting down behind the hills in the distance. After all, it probably will not be that bad seeing as she went to see Eda in the dead of the night in her pajamas, right?

Right?

_

In hindsight, it was partly Amity’s fault.

After Luz’s insistence that Amity did not need to buy a whole flower shop to present to her mom, they headed towards the former’s neighborhood, arriving at her house earlier than the parent Amity was supposed to meet. A forest stretched behind the houses on the streets, and it might have been peaceful during the day but the sun was going to sleep soon and the same plants and trees have darkened, radiating an eerie feeling as if it was a night in Halloween.

Luz convinced her to take the hatchback instead of her car and Amity was more than inclined to follow because she was too out of focus to drive anyway and it opened a window of opportunity as she immediately claimed another bomber jacket to cover her legs in the passenger seat as her person drove.

As soon as Luz pulled into the driveway of a bungalow, Amity stepped out cautiously, brushing her skirt straight as she did so and tilted her head in awe at the house. Ever since she was young, she perceived the Blight Manor to be a waste since there were only five of them encompassing the space. For the youngest, it was cold and empty, and the fact that her family did not see each other as often as other people did because they were all locked up in their room, started to show with how nervous she was in talking to someone else’s family. This one may have appeared smaller than her parents’ mansion, but it gave off a cozy sensation. The roof was rusted and got worn-out from the rain, so unlike the often repaired and rejuvenated covers of the manor, and even the bushes that surrounded the house, although untrimmed, were welcoming.

She stayed silent even when Luz intertwined their fingers and pulled her into the house excitedly, Amity struggling to run with her. The taller girl chattered endlessly as the guest listened, trying to match the same level of enthusiasm her girlfriend showed while the latter led her to the kitchen.

“Ah, I almost forgot but we’ll be doing preparations first, and Eda will be arriving in an hour to cook the dishes!”

Ah, Amity thought miserably, I never agreed to this.

Luz handed her an apron and she accepted it reluctantly, watching as Luz brought out some vegetables out of the fridge. The girl walked up to the counter and dropped it there and Amity followed suit, staring curiously at the ingredients laid out in front of them. She did not have enough time to consider the jitters and butterflies in her stomach at how domestic they were being because Luz handed her the knife and asked her to slice the vegetables. Though at the same time it was kind of difficult for her to process Luz’s words as she stared blankly at the utensil in her hand.

“What are we supposed to make?” Amity pursed her lips.

“Curry!” Luz answered cheerfully and stuck out her tongue as she gestured for the petite girl to examine which vegetables they were supposed to prepare.

The shorter girl took out her phone, scrolling through the recipes Google showed her, in case she needed to cut it into some kind of shape or something. She clicked randomly on the results in the first page of her phone, frowning when she saw that some of the stuff were different from what they currently had.

How does one follow a recipe when they did not have the exact ingredients available?

Note to self, let Luz do all the cooking if Google is unavailable or unhelpful.

Luz apparently had abandoned her ignored example as she plopped her chin above Amity’s head, which was too much if she was just going to peek at her screen. Amity could feel every movement when Luz opened her mouth and she bit her lower lip, palms turning clammy. As if the rub it in, Luz raised her hands and grabbed her by the shoulders, her fingers tapping against it in a rhythmic manner. She hummed an unfamiliar song and the vibration washed over Amity like a warm, knitted blanket.

“What are you doing?” Amity rolled her eyes in response.

“You’re small. This is comfy.”

 Amity replied by bending her knees and jumping, hitting Luz’s chin hard with the top of her head, as intended.

Luz fell back slightly, groaning in response. She shot Amity a dirty look. Luz rubbed her chin, wincing slightly from the pain, and the green-haired girl sighed, before pulling out a band aid from her skirt pocket as if she expected this to happen. Well, no, she did not mean to hurt the girl, but by this point both of them had some extra bandages stuffed in their clothing in case something occurred, and they needed it. Luz took it with a huff and stepped back to slap the band aid on her reddening skin.

It took Amity a few more tries before she got the hang of it, or at least, is what told herself. It was not exactly as quick as Luz had done with the carrots, nor as thin sliced, but it was a start and at least she did not accidentally cut herself this time, unlike how she burnt her fingers on the stove multiple times in her last endeavor in the kitchen. From the corner of her eyes, she noticed that Luz was observing her, a playful smile on her face which doused Amity’s skin in flaming red, and she hoped that it was more from embarrassment. It was harder to act if she was a flustered mess because of the person next to her.

Hopefully, things would not go like this throughout dinner or Amity was going to be in deep trouble.

It took them over thirty minutes to finish with the preparations before Luz sighed and stretched her arms out, a yawn escaping her lips. Amity checked the time on her phone and found that they had some spare time before Camila came home from a shift at the hospital. Well, kitchen duty seemed quite effective seeing as the beating of her heart slowed down a ton. She wondered if that was Luz’s intention and if she had sensed how the nerves were getting to her, because if it was, then that meant that she was not as dense as Amity made her out to be.

Soon enough, the kitchen was engulfed in gradual darkness as the sun had completely set, the light from the window dimming until they found themselves in a barely lit room. Amity let her eyes wander, catching vague glimpses of picture frames in the living room as Luz tirelessly tugged her around the house. Before she realized, they were heading upstairs where a bunch of closed doors decorated the corners. Her wedges stepped on carpeted floor while Luz asked her questions, arm reaching out for a doorknob at the very end but became hesitant to open it.

“Hey, since I accidentally invaded your room multiple times, you want to see mine?”

Luz did not mean to put any weight behind that simple suggestion, but it only made Amity realize that they were not in any of her comfort zones. The walls were an unfamiliar teal, and the house had traces of Luz all over, with frames displayed in a lot of corners, the kitchen utensils recently sharpened and used, and the scent of pines hit her like a strong gust of wind.

The thought of being able to step in Luz’s room made her feel suffocated, but not in a bad way; she was going to choose some jackets to bring home after all, but other than that, it just felt somewhat personal. While her room was a typical design her mother had chosen for her, devoid of her personal preferences other than her bedsheets and hidden closet doors, she still had nothing to hide from Luz whenever she snuck in. But her intuition told her that the girl she was with was the opposite of her.

“Okay.” She agreed, wholeheartedly, even when her heart fluttered relentlessly in her chest, as it came up with different scenarios as it screamed Luz’s room, Luz’s room, Luz’s room repeatedly.

Luz’s room, Luz’s room, Luz’s room! Her mind followed.

Shut up! Is what Amity told them both, because of all the times her heart and mind could agree with each other, it was for this particular thing.

She swallowed thickly when Luz shifted in the dark and shuffled towards her, hand searching for her own. Amity stiffened when the girl let out a thoughtful hum, fingers brushing against her bare arm, which sent an electrifying shock throughout Amity’s body, until Luz found and grabbed her hand, and geez, she really hoped the taller would ignore the obvious trembling of a flushed palm against hers.

When Luz’s other hand turned the knob, and she gently pulled Amity inside the dark room, the girl squinted, trying to get her eyes to adjust, seeing as a pair of dark curtains covered the entirety of the only window within the Latina’s room, making her completely blind. There was a sudden flash and the room was basked in floral white, making Amity yelp in surprise. Soon, purple walls covered in posters of different fandoms greeted her, along with neatly folded clothes placed on a wooden study desk. Her eyes roamed the room and scanned every inch, feeling some kind of warmth blooming in her chest at the sight of the different colored notes pinned on a board above the desk, coupled with some books on the floor near it as if they were recently just opened.

It was not as neat as Amity preferred it to be, but it also was not that messy. It was just really, homey even when one should take in the fact that Luz mostly spent her time outside of the house.

In the corner of the room, Amity noticed something drilled on the wall. She raised her brow before her sight trailed down to see some weights placed in an orderly fashion. Amity blinked before she turned her head to gaze at Luz who was watching her every reaction.

“You lift?” Amity asked in disbelief.

Somehow, she had forgotten that Luz’s lanky arms had lifted her up plenty of times over the months they had been fake dating. It was not as toned as her legs nor was it visible seeing as they were always covered by the sleeves of her bomber jackets, but it would make sense; after all, Luz would not have started street fights if she were not physically fit enough to do so.

“Yes. Not all of us are jocks, y’know,” Luz reached out and tapped her finger against Amity’s forehead as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Amity puffed her cheeks in response and swatted her hand away before she walked closer to inspect the equipment. It was definitely not new. The color of the curl bar was faded, the edges already chipped off. While she was impressed, she kept her face disinterested even though her conscience was celebrating.

Girl, she works out, we score!

If Amity could beat up her mind, she probably would have done it a long time ago. Her brain was supposed to be rational, but now it had been unbecoming of it. Amity was well aware of how Luz lingered a few inches near her, curiously checking to see what the petite girl found amusing within her room, and they exchanged playful jabs as they went on. There was a purple mat situated below Luz’s bed, and Amity ran her hand through the rough texture and whistled teasingly.

“Are you sure you didn’t just drill it in yesterday, knowing that I was coming over?” Amity asked dryly, a smirk playing on her lips.

Luz scoffed at that and crossed her arms, mocking offense as Amity plopped herself down on the purple sheets that could only hold one person. She sighed at the softness of the mattress as it dipped because of her weight while her girlfriend stood in front of her ranting about how she had a routine she followed every day and Amity listened intently, chin resting in her hand as she crossed her arms.

“Seriously, princesa, I gotta keep up my physique, you know? I have to pick you up really early so I do my push-ups by night-”

“You do push-ups at night?” Amity interrupted, lips turned up in amusement.

Luz paused and stared at her challengingly. She stepped forward as Amity leaned back to raise her head to lock gazes with fiery, brown eyes. Amity did not mean to, really and she was not one to judge (well, she was, and they were way passed that phase), but for the heiress, doing push-ups at night was unheard of. It was most likely because she was a jock and their practices used to be set so early in the morning that her body had gotten used to that instead.

But still...

“You got a problem with that, chica?” Luz clicked her tongue and bent forward, and Amity had the urge to smack her face back. But she was not one to back down and she preferred asserting her dominance this time, recalling how Luz had rendered her completely speechless in her own room. Now was the time for revenge, so she leaned closer, hand reaching out to cup Luz’s bandaged chin, her nose brushing against Luz, who jolted in surprise.

“Yes, are you sure, you were doing push-ups, Noceda?” Amity started, snickering. She gestured to the bed, golden eyes glancing back arduously at Luz, where a blank expression had taken up her features. Amity’s heart pounded in her chest and for a second she thought that she had crossed a line, until Luz’s eyes narrowed, and her lips jutted out into a pout.

“I’m being serious, Ames.”

Amity could feel every breath Luz exhaled, which raised the alarms in her head, making all of it go off at once. The pouty statement encouraged Amity to prob further, internally relieved that she had not pissed her person off because that was the last thing she wanted to do and it would do her no good if she had done that in Luz’s house, where she would not be able to hide.

“Okay, so maybe you are doing actual push-ups...But I can’t help think that you might just be doing it on the bed so wouldn’t that be ineffective because it isn’t the ideal place to exercise? Wouldn’t it be really tempting to fall asleep-” She patted the covers and grinned mischievously, “I wouldn’t blame you if you were just trying to impress me, Noceda. You don’t have to lie though-”

Her teasing was cut short when Luz suddenly lunged forward and tackled her, making Amity fall on her back with a squeal, and her immediate instinct was to shove Luz off as soon as her head hit the pillows. They struggled against each other, hands pushing whatever they could touch as Amity’s legs flailed underneath her person and when her light punches failed to faze the other girl, she placed her hands on Luz’s broad shoulders and held it in a vice grip, manicured nails digging into the fabric of the white shirt which elicited a hiss from the girl on top of her.

Wait.

Wait, what-

Amity froze when larger hand placed themselves on both sides of her face, eyes widened as Luz hovered over her, a pained expression on her face. The heiress’ jaw dropped and her grip on the dark girl’s shoulders loosened, which the latter took advantage of as she shrugged them off and grabbed Amity’s smaller hands, before she set them down again, completely and effectively pinning the girl beneath her.

Luz smiled smugly down at her, ears twitching in approval as she saw her handiwork. Amity did not speak up even as Luz bent down and brushed her lips against her flushed cheek, making her eyes flutter to a close. Luz shifted and the sheets below them rustled because of her movements and Amity felt as if her lungs were constricted and that there was no more room to breathe.

“Ames, if you wanted me to do push-ups on the bed that bad, you could have just said so,” Luz whispered in her ear, which made Amity redden all the more. Luz opened her balled-up fists and laced their fingers together and it would have been romantic, it really would have, if only Amity was not panicking, because her heart was indubitably about to burst out of her chest as her mind screamed without a care in the world.

This wasn’t supposed to end like this!

Yes, yes, yes, yes, it’s better though!

She mentally flipped herself off.

Amity laid flat on the bed, unable to even fold her legs seeing as she had not removed the wedges and was still very picky about leaving footprints onto the seemingly clean sheets that did not belong to her. She squeaked as Luz left another kiss on her jawline and she prayed that Luz would not go any lower than her face or she was going to combust. Unconsciously, her hands squeezed back on the firm grip of her person, the action making Luz chuckle and soon, she was back in Amity’s face, an irritating smirk on her soft, looking lips.

Amity just wanted to kiss the stupid, irritating grin off her lips.

“Believe me now?”

But Amity was not letting it go just yet, she could still salvage this situation and be in control; she opened her mouth and spat back a hopefully not that hoarse and pathetic of a reply.

“Why should I? Pushing me down doesn’t mean you did a push-up, stupid.”

This must have been the dumbest thing Amity had ever done in her life. Luz squeezed her hand harder than earlier as the smirk disappeared from her face. Her eyebrows were slanted in mock anger and she pressed her palm flat against Amity’s before she raised her body, the legs that pressed against Amity’s sides unfolded and stiffly spread out and the position was as if Luz was about to do a push-up right on top of the Blight.

Apparently, that was the plan.

Luz gazed at her hotly, brown eyes daring and dark. Suddenly, Amity’s throat dried up when the Latina let herself down slowly, the heavy pressure on pale hands making the flushed girl wrap her fingers around the open palms. Luz stopped just short of a few centimeters between their faces, eyes locked with widened, golden ones. Amity’s lips quivered and she swallowed when Luz repeated the motion a few more times than necessary, her hips slightly lowered and almost brushing against Amity’s own.

That should have been an automatic fail in Amity’s book, but she froze under the heated gaze as Luz puffed out a few more breaths as if the action strained her body, and Amity being right underneath her was not helping at all in their predicament. Her hands became heavier within Amity’s grip, which hinted to the green-haired girl that Luz was getting tired, although she had an inkling that the taller girl would not stop until she proved to Amity that she was wrong.

The air in the room was humid as Amity stared up at her in awe, enamored by how Luz bit her lower lip and continued with fervor even though her legs were already shaking with every push-up, and every time she lowered herself, the longer her trembling legs nudged against Amity’s. Sweat started to form on her forehead, as the beanie on top of her head slipped off towards the side. Maybe doing push-ups on the bed was harder than Amity originally thought it would be. Guilt suddenly flooded her as she realized that Luz must not have appreciated the teasing as much as she thought it would if she was this desperate to make Amity believe her.

Amity sighed and slipped her hand out of the slack hold and cupped Luz’s face, seeing how she blinked out of her dazed push-ups as she brought back her concentration on Amity’s softened expression. The girl paused and leaned into the touch as Amity stroked her cheek, and she tried not to squirm when Luz hoisted herself up on one hand and laid the other one on Amity’s shoulder gently, as if she were afraid if she pressed any harder, it would hurt.

“You can stop now, Luz,” Amity assured and almost immediately, as if her words were made of magic, Luz let out the breath she was holding and collapsed right on top of Amity, and the weight of the two made the bed dip even more. She cringed as Luz face planted right into the crook of her neck and she could feel the dampness of the sweat on her face even through the fabric of the pink top. She wrapped her hands around Luz’s back, giving it an awkward pat as the girl caught her breath, her chest heaving as she did so.

It was silent for a few more minutes until Luz maneuvered her head and Amity adjusted as Luz stared at her boastfully, a grin on her sweaty face. Amity scoffed to the side at the hopeful expression and shook her head when Luz leaned in and left a kiss on her neck.

“So, did you count how many I did?”

No, I was too distracted.

“Yes. None of it were successful push-ups so you get a zero,” Amity snorted.

“Alright, that’s it-”

Evidently having the last straw, Luz clicked her tongue and hoisted herself up quickly leaving Amity confused. It did not last long though as Luz looped her hands around Amity’s exposed midriff which made her gasp when the former pressed warm fingertips into her sides and made her jolt involuntarily, hands coiling around Luz’s wrists.

“What are you-Eeep!” She shrieked when Luz started tickling her and she wheezed, legs kicking up from under her person and she was more or less conscious of the fact that her shoes went flying off somewhere in the room with a resounding thud!

Luz peered at her fascinatedly when she thrashed around, bursting into a fit of giggles as the former pawed her bare skin and Amity tightened her grasp on Luz’s wrists. Her face was tomato red as she fought to remove the blazing touches on her skin and she failed to notice that Luz leaned down wearily, a bit afraid that if she had not done it cautiously, Amity might whip her head without warning and cause injuries.

Me alegra que te hayas puesto este top,” Luz hummed torridly before she placed a chaste kiss on Amity’s cheek.

Did she just say she liked our top?

I don’t fucking know! Amity screamed back.

Oh, then tell her that you like her as top-

Unfortunately for Luz, Amity was far too distracted to consider snapping her neck right then and there. When her breath turned into difficult stutters, Luz slowed down and rubbed her skin in a soothing manner. Amity panted and she was pretty sure that sweat had formed on the top of her brow. While she appreciated the fact that Luz paused to give her time to breathe, she glared through glistening tears from laughing too much and Luz chuckled at the action, fingers playfully squeezing her skin.

“No-Stop, I can’t breathe!” Amity squealed, hands leaving Luz’s reddening wrists as she grabbed a handful of Luz’s sweaty shirt and tugged on it relentlessly. Her words finally made Luz pause and soon enough, Amity was staring right into brown eyes as she let out rasp breaths. She jerked Luz forward, which startled the girl until they were face to face once again and she was confident that they were close enough for her person to figure out the source of the blush on her pale face.

Luz fixed her eyes on her in a ruminative manner, her palms still warm against Amity’s skin as they both took a deep breath. When Amity’s mind cleared up and her words finally registered, she gaped like a fish. As panic rose inside of her, she propped herself on her elbows and tried to get up, but Luz held her firmly in place, and despite not meaning those words in that way, it made Amity wonder if Luz finally caught up to what it meant because of how she was looking at her right now.

“...It’s okay.” Luz replied pensively.

Amity flinched at the answer and wished that Luz had not solved what those words hid because she preferred a misunderstanding rather than a solid, It’s okay which could signify Luz avoiding hurting Amity’s feelings. At least if it was a mistake, there would be no relatable implication to what those three words insinuate and then it would really be okay.

By now, she recognized how deep those words meant than when she first said it. It did not just connote the way Luz made her feel, but was also a safe place for Amity to hide behind because of how terrified she was of slipping the actual words out. At least even with just I can’t breathe, she could have already expressed all the things she wanted to. Amity did not have to worry about Luz returning the ones she longed to hear, afraid that she would be brushed off, nor did she have to struggle with the sadness of having to ask Luz to say it back even when she probably could because it was not part of their agreement.

Only to have faked it.

Amity wanted none of that.

Her thoughts were duly interrupted when Luz moved her hand again, lingering just below the hem of her top. Amity snapped out of her daze as Luz kissed her forehead apologetically and she squeezed her eyes shut, having no desire to know what the apology was for. Instead, she wrapped her shaking arms around Luz’s neck and pulled her downward into a hug as an expression of her regrettable teasing for earlier and under her hold, Luz shuffled around and slightly eased her position, weight gently pressed against the shorter girl. She completely looped her arms around her midriff and Amity arched her back to let her, sighing in contentment.

“Sorry...” Luz mumbled into the crook of her neck which tickled her, but she only tightened the hug and returned the words, me too. Courageously, Amity turned her head and pressed her lips on the side of Luz’s damp face who for some particular reason had buried herself deeper in her neck, placing a chaste kiss on it as she rubbed circles on Amity’s skin.

They stayed there, completely lost in their world as Luz trailed up kisses towards her face, and in exchange, Amity ran her manicured nails through brown locks, untangling the knotted edges of her hair. She raised her legs up to the edge of the bed as the taller girl made herself comfortable in-between.

It started as an innocent push-and-pull before Luz asked a purposefully vague permission which Amity reluctantly nodded to; the shoving turned into a tickle fight almost instantly and not wanting to fall behind, Amity hiked up Luz’s shirt only to clumsily move her fingers and prod around in an attempt to make Luz burst out in laughter as much as she had done earlier that evening.

Soon, they were at the edge of tumbling off the bed, screaming bloody murder at each other and Amity was about to win the war (of course she was being biased) by turning them over, only to be stopped short of doing so when they heard a voice from the doorway which turned their bodies rigid.

“¡¿Hija, pero qué carajo estás haciendo?!”

Camila Noceda stood in the doorway, flabbergasted at the scandalous sight of them. Her eyes zoned in on the hands that were still situated under Amity’s crop top, while Amity’s own were on Luz’s back, which that in itself would not have been a problem if one did not count the fact that it was under Luz’s shirt, on bare skin.

So much for a good first impression.

In a flash, Luz was off  her, shouting, “I can explain!”

_

So you’re telling me...that Luz was doing push-ups on the bed?”

The sentence was said so ludicrously that even Amity would not have believed that explanation if someone told her. She would have just assumed that the couple was about to do it and waved it off, enough said. But boy, does she want for Camila Noceda to believe the strings of sentences that came out of her mouth in this very moment.

I know what you’re going to say, that that’s completely a lie, completely unbelievable, but we’re talking about Luz here- was what Amity wanted to point out.

Amity did not mind her unruly green hair, or how her clothes were wrinkled from the catastrophe that happened in Luz’s room, when she was in that situation. But now that she came face-to-face with the owner of the house, as a guest, she was afraid that it only aided in giving the wrong impression.

Eda bursted into a fit of giggles, her snorts being the only audible sound on the table, other than King drinking water off his bowl in the corner. For some reason, Amity wished she had kept her mouth shut because now she could be labeled as a liar with how illogical her argument was; Luz kept herself small beside her as her mom stared both of them down with calculating eyes. She did not seem to mind the noises Eda was making as she scooped up some food and decidedly ate before anyone else did.

There were bags under Camila’s eyes and it must have been because of the constant shifts she had at the hospital she worked in. She was still in a desaturated sky-blue uniform, most likely not having the time to change after that little show Amity and Luz put on earlier. This was a time where Amity chose to use what her own mother had taught her; pretend to be confident by straightening her back and looking at Camila dead in the eyes.

Except those eyes were narrowed nearly into slits and Amity could not help but wonder if she was furious, because if she was, then the teenager was ready to dart out of the front door and leave Luz to her own demise. Amity felt bad because the adult must have been exhausted from work only to come home to see her daughter in a compromising position with a complete stranger.

Instead of lashing out like what Amity initially thought, Camila sighed and massaged her temples, shooting a stern look at her daughter who only let out a meep.

Amity did not know whether to be relieved that the attention had been shifted from her to Luz or whether to be more worried than before because just one look at her person assured her that she was going to send both of them to hell.

Mija, I can’t verify anything if you don’t speak up.”

Please don't speak up, Noceda.

Luz gaped like a fish out of water as she avoided looking straight at her mom. This was the first time Amity witnessed her person overcome with nerves. Usually, she was the one searching for trouble between the two of them and Amity would go along with it, to cause more trouble (because where was the fun in stopping a troublesome kid from getting into their field of expertise).

Amity took no offense at the hint that Camila could not take her word for it. Underneath the table, she kicked Luz and stepped on the girl's white sneakers which from the corner of her eye, worked as the girl straightened in her seat and swallowed the lump in her throat. She nodded furiously, with teeth gritted and eyes wide alert.

"I-Yes, mami. We were talking about exercising and I started to do push-ups-"

“-Mija, what kind of push-ups would need Amity here under you? Why on the bed?"

Well, they did not have an explanation for that. Luz quickly kept her mouth shut as Amity's lips formed a thin line. This was no time to turn to her side and say I told you so which would worsen the situation but even without saying it verbally, the grimace on Luz's face was enough indication for Amity to figure out that the same thing crossed her mind.

That statement, even with its context, made Eda double over in laughter, and Amity secretly hoped she would choke for not helping them right now. Then again, it was not as if Eda was there during the whole fiasco. At this point, Amity remained silent and watched the debacle as Luz tried to prove herself-and Amity-innocent. She shot off into a fast-paced explanation in Spanish, which Camila returned with ease. Amity's gaze fell back on the food which was going to grow cold soon and wondered how they ended up surviving the whole cooking process when Camila ordered them to sit in the living room, with the corresponding distance as the adult watched them like a hawk.

Unfortunately, Amity's Spanish vocabulary had not expanded beyond the endearments Luz called her because she could not interpret the conversation between the Nocedas even if she tried. She could turn on Google translate but Amity was quite certain that there would not even be a fifty percent chance for it to convert the arguments into English correctly.

So for the first time in a long time,

Amity had given up.

She did not care anymore with what they bickered back and forth for Eda's amusement, so she picked up the fork and stabbed the well-cooked meat, unaware that the mother and daughter pair stopped and stared at her as she raised it to her mouth and bit into it. She savored the taste which proved to be fresher and better than what Eda served at the Owl House, and it was most likely because she was eating this one. Under the table, Luz reached out for her hand which made her eyes flutter open and Amity glanced at her questioningly as she chewed.

"Ames, help me out here."

Just tell your mother she’s right and get this over with.

She would, if they had not exhausted all the arguments available. Amity swallowed and tilted her head. There was a plea in those chocolate brown eyes and if this was any other day, she would have stepped up and laid down a solid defense or at least have a very convincing reason.

But see here, how could she possibly escape this mess with what was left of her dignity?

Best to just go with it.

Scratch that.

People could take away whatever it was that belonged to her, but her pride in being an honest woman was not something she was going to have destroyed.

“Mrs. Noceda," Amity started slowly, leveling her gaze with that of the adult who analyzed her actively. Luz's hand atop hers was comforting and with all her integrity, she summoned the guiltiest expression on her face and bowed her head slightly, as soon as Camila gave her the go signal to speak.

"Luz had been the most wonderful person to me for the past few months," she paused and let that sink in, "and she loves you so much that it made me want to meet you as well. I know we don't know each other, but I'm sure Eda," que the not so dirty look to the woman who blinked back at her, a fish fillet in her mouth, "could testify that I respect your daughter and most definitely, hold you as her mother in high regard. I sincerely apologize for what happened earlier and I really meant it when I said that Luz only did push-ups after I teased her...and we just had a tickle fight afterwards..."

Amity was glad her mother had placed her in those grueling business administration classes for extra credit because she could use the extensive knowledge on negotiating in sporadic moments such as this; at least the stress was worth it.

At first, Camila stared at her as if she was looking for some semblance of a lie and Amity had no doubt that she was good at seeing through one as she worked with different kinds of people every day, but that did not leave the teen in distraught as she had nothing to hide. For a second, she thought her comment had backfired when Camila readied to shoot her another question but finally, thank King the dog, finally, Eda laid a hand on the nurse's shoulder and cleared her throat.

"Okay, okay, that's enough," she declared albeit with less authority than she had when they were in the Owl House; though Amity could not blame her because Camila could throw both of them out into the frosty cold of the night and Amity did not bring her car.

She made a mental note of duplicating Luz's keys tomorrow.

"Camila, Amity here is a good kid, believe me, she's too good for Luz," Eda waived Luz off when she started to protest, while Amity beamed, ears perking at the compliment, even though deep inside her, she was well-aware Luz deserved someone who would meet her halfway and she tried her hardest to be that person in the present.

“By this, I mean who the hell knocks on your door in the middle of the night just to ask you to help her bake cookies for her girlfriend? Obviously, Minty here is as crazy as Luz."

Great, Amity thought. Sometimes she wondered if Eda was out to get her every time she brought that up. She had the urge to mention how she bought almost every type of available cheese for the café out of her own pocket but she stilled her tongue and hoped instead that Eda was going somewhere good with this.

Eda eyed her, a smirk tugging at her red lips as if she was trying to gauge a reaction from her and when Camila was distracted, Amity stuck her tongue out childishly. Luz chuckled, and the heiress almost forgot that the taller girl held her hand under the table until she felt the cold metal of a ring tapping against her pale fingers.

As if she was satisfied, Eda went on and enumerated the times she observed the two whenever they would stop by the Owl House and frankly, Amity was enamored by the fact that she remembered every little detail which was surprising because she thought the owner was too busy to pay attention to two teenagers sitting in an almost secluded table.

“-I even have photos from my hidden cam of the time she gave the purple beanie to Luz, and I gotta hand it to you, she really picked out the best one-”

Did Eda just say she had a hidden camera?

Was everyone just spying on us?

“Wait, you gave my daughter the beanie?” Camila cut Eda off, her hand raised to stop her as if she had heard enough.

Amity was startled at the sudden attention and she inhaled sharply before she nodded. Camila’s brows were raised but her eyes were no longer wary; the frown disappeared from her lips and it was apparent that she was much more interested in the stranger than she let on a moment ago.

Luz may not have said anything during the exchange, but their intertwined hands was a huge reminder of her presence next to the heiress. Amity guessed that she did not need a jacket after all because of how warm her body felt as the nerves were getting to her. Camila did not particularly sound as if she was ridiculing the gift, but it did not sound as if she kind of liked it either.

While she kept her attention on Camila, she carefully raised her fork, hoping it was not considered rude to eat because she did not want the food to go to waste if it went cold. Camila did not seem to mind as Luz did the same encouragingly, though that just reminded her of how she said that Amity had nothing to be afraid of.

Amity had countless reasons to be afraid of.

Because for all she knew, Camila’s silence can be taken as her kindness to let Amity finish her food before she gets kicked out, or at the very least, was already a sign of disapproval seeing as silence, as the saying went, meant yes.

Why did she always have to think of the worst-case scenarios?

The conversation was still hung up in the air as they continued to eat and it did not take very long for the adults to notice how the couple were only using one of each of their hands. Amity cursed Luz under her breath, annoyed by how every time she tried to remove her hand, Luz would keep it pinned on her lap and all Amity wanted to do was just scold her, because this was not the time to try being a romantic, especially not in front of the person who, Amity believed, to have known different ways on how to bury a body without being detected by authorities.

It was when the food on the table was gone, when Camila finally spoke again, but in a softer tone.

“Dios mío,” Camila sighed.

This is it. Amity’s heart hammered in her chest and for her own comfort, she tried to remind herself that this was not real and she did not have to get this person to like her.

Except she wanted her to.

Querida, Amity,” Amity braced herself, turning numb at how Luz squeezed her hand, also looking worried and the former swore that after this, the Latina was going to blame herself for it not working, and they would get into another argument of who was more at fault and-

“Don’t take this the wrong way, I do like you.”

-and Amity was just going to go home to sob in her pillow-wait, what?

Her mouth dropped open, and she gawked at the adult. Luz and Eda seemed just as surprised, when Camila gave her a softer smile this time, which bore no malice or any false pretense. It made Amity’s heart flutter at the familiarity of the turning lips, as the butterflies in her stomach flew around wildly until she felt a bit sick.

Camila raised her hands in defense, unaffected by how shook the three people in the room were, then she ran a hand through brown locks, which, although not as vibrant as Luz’s chaotic, almost red strands of hair, was quite similar in nature when the bun was disregarded. Her eyes darted from her daughter than to Amity, as she continued,

“This hasn’t been the best...possible meeting we could have, and all I could say is that I was shocked to have walked in on something, after I’ve heard great things about you,” She paused when Luz snorted, and Amity was about to claw at her wrist when the adult continued, “so even before we’ve physically met, I believe my daughter and Eda in what they see in you and if you say that you respect me enough not to do it in my household-”

Amity and Luz flinched at that.

“Then I believe you.”

It was a good thing that the heiress was sitting down or else she would have passed out. Her lips quivered slightly as the realization dawned on her; she never really thought about what other parents perceived her to be, because in the Blight family, they could care less about what others say since all those strangers cared about is their wealth.

They would love you as long as you were wealthy.

Camila’s words were light and simple, but to Amity, she treated it as if the world was placed in the palm of her hands. The acceptance was different from how her father had treated the fake relationship a few months ago and Amity still struggled with their gradual but also unclear pondering on what they made Luz out to be, because all those months could be for naught or could prove to be successful.

It was as if the tension dissipated right after those words and Amity knew that she was not the only one relieved.

She opened up more after that, enjoying her chat with the adult regarding the common topic they knew all too well, which was her daughter. Luz joined in from time to time, loud and insistent in her protests whenever the girl admitted that the Latina had done stupid things which did not come as a surprise for the parent. Eda chirped in a few jokes which made both Camila and Amity shake their heads while Luz supported the former with a grin and a few thumbs-up.

While the topics turned random, Eda got up and went to the fridge, only to bring out homemade ice cream the Nocedas chilled the night before. Camila passed out some small bowls to them, before she headed towards the hanging cabinet, muttering spoons, when Luz tapped Amity on the shoulder.

Amity turned to her, confused and slightly startled when the girl tugged on their intertwined hands, placing a chaste kiss on the back of her hand. They must have laced their fingers long enough because she could feel both of them turning clammy, which repulsed the heiress, but it was either she pulled away or she basked in the affectionate gesture that could not escalate into anything more. Luz winked at her but Amity only rolled her eyes, not even making the effort to hide the relieved smile on her face as they shared a knowing look.

Mija, keep your mouth to yourself.”

That made them untangle themselves. Certainly, if Amity had to choose between the two options aforementioned, she was going to pick a third one because like what Luz repeated before, Mami’s words are the law and Amity was going to obey.

Although as much as she believed that they were out of the woods yet, appreciating the taste of cookies and cream, and as much as she did not notice how close she and Luz sat together, with legs glued side-by-side, it appeared that Camila was not finished.

“Right. I’ve talked about this with plenty of my patients before,” Camila placed the empty cup back on the table and moved it aside, clasping her hands as she did so.

“But not with my own daughter since I had to wait for her to bring someone home before I did."

Oh.

Oh.

Oh no-

 "Mija, Amity, we’ve got to talk about the birds and the bees.”

Amity choked.

_

"Well, that was just the worst, wasn't it?"

Not really, Amity wanted to say.

When Luz offered to give her a ride back home, which was supposedly the original plan, Camila still had her reservations and it showed when she asked Eda to drop her home instead. Luz shot her an apologetic look and mouthed Call you later!

At first, they were on the verge of quarreling before Eda pointed out the fact that Amity owed her for the save. Instead of spiraling into another argument, she let the adult have her fun and settled for listening in the passenger seat when Eda started to talk about how she, by all accounts, knew Amity's parents.

This felt like she was listening to How I Met Your Mother except it was not a romantic story and all the red hearts that signified love actually meant gore. She bade her goodbye when she was dropped off at the manor gates, but not without Eda yelling something about her mother to the speaker at the gates, and Amity was never going to see Odalia the same way ever again.

That was also when the regret of wearing a skirt sunk in. The jacket she had not stolen-as Camila pestered her daughter to give her-may have been long, but it was not enough to cover the whole of her body, so she sped walk to the front doors that loomed over her and tiptoed through the dim halls. She was positive that the cameras already caught her, but hopefully her parents were going to be distracted by watching Eda through the lenses when they checked the footage.

It was when she was back in her room, with a set of pink pajamas and newly-washed hair that Luz called. She took her time burying herself under the covers and staring at the icon before she answered and was greeted straight away by a petulant whine.

“I mean it went slightly better than when you met my parents,” Amity answered truthfully.

There was a grunt and an image of a grumpy Luz flashed through her mind. She heard the rustling of sheets which indicated that the girl was in bed just like her. Unconsciously, Amity reached for one of her pillows and hugged it tight, burying her face in it. This was not the first time Luz called her but they did not exactly stay on it very long since it would lead to them going out together a few minutes after she answered.

“See, I told you she’ll like you.” Luz called out in a whisper and Amity wondered if she was still under surveillance, or if the walls were very thin that Camila could listen into the conversation. It was more than likely that she was after what had happened and Amity would not blame her if she did so, plus it made things interesting especially since she was not going to be in the limelight as she was far from the Noceda household.

Amity hummed.

She played with the hem of the blanket mindlessly, while Luz continued to talk gingerly, as if she was being careful not to ruin Amity’s eardrum if she happened to be close enough to the phone speaker, or maybe because it was past midnight and most things were delicately quiet at night.

Hey, why do you think they call it birds and the bees?”

While Amity was knowledgeable about the origins of those words, and on any other occasion she might have explained it, but as she remembered the disastrous event as to why they had to have The Talk, she sputtered and her face grew hot.

She sat through the conversation earlier, thoughts unable to drift away when Luz argued about how it would not have applied to them, and just plainly implied the possibility that they were going to do whatever couples did which sent Amity’s heart into doing somersaults painfully in her chest.

“Luz, some things aren’t meant to be thought about,” Amity hissed just as gently.

Her sentence left a pang in her chest when it dawned on her that it could mean something else other than the light banter they were having.

The past two days have been hectic; it was as if something had changed when she brought Luz out of the hospital back then, but she could not quite name what it was. She reflected on how they have become sweeter, albeit it puzzled her if that really was the case, about how things were sweeter only when the end was near.

Everything happened so fast that she did not even get a chance to meditate on the dinner earlier and what it meant as it was finished. These things were always on Amity’s mind, and she repeated episodes endlessly, placing the things that she could have gone different about, and critiquing herself for the way she acted. But even if she changed one part or the other about it, at the end of the day, she still came down to one miserable conclusion regarding the aftermath of each incident.

She was in too deep and involved to say that there would not be any tears when they have to pull apart and then go back to their lives of when they never spoke or addressed each other publicly, maybe shoot a dirty look or two randomly, and once again, be forced to hang out with a clique that was not quite suited to Amity’s style, and probably having to endure the glares Luz’s friends were going to shoot her way.

What stressed her out even more was that she and Luz did not talk about how it would end.

And Amity was too afraid to bring it up.

Ames?” Luz stretched out her name and oh, Amity had not said anything for a while.

She made a patent choice to pretend to be asleep and neglected the question. Luz paused from the other side of the phone and Amity neared herself to it, drawn to the sound of how the girl seemed to have propped herself up while also humming an accompanying tune.

Pfft, sleep is for the weak,” Luz chuckled and Amity had a sinking feeling that the girl was only testing her if she really had fallen asleep. Amity rolled her eyes at that, even though a smile played on her lips when ironically, Luz let out an audible yawn.

It had been way past two when Luz’s voice died down and turned into slow, quiet breathing. Amity listened attentively, imagining how Luz’s chest rose as she inhaled, relaxed and unguarded. The mic must have been near her mouth because the heiress could hear it loud and clear, albeit she was a bit astonished that Luz did not end the call promptly after she concluded that Amity had fallen asleep.

At the same time, her heart skipped a beat.

The fact that Luz continued to talk to her about nonsensical stories, conspiracy theories she kept to herself, and how her person did not bother ending the call until she slept, made Amity happy.

Her breath hitched as a burst of flutters and unexplainable things filled her chest, and she listened a bit more to Luz’s calm breathing. She opened her mouth, accompanied with a blush on her face when she petulantly let some of the emotions she stashed in a mental compartment, out.

“Luz?” She croaked, and her voice broke.

No answer.

According to Google, past surveys have shown that men wait just eighty-eight days or under three months, before they say those three little words to their partner for the first time. As for women, it had been shown to have taken one hundred and thirty-four days before they spoke those cherished, precious words.

Amity was not an ordinary person, that much can be said. She believed no one embodied the term ordinary, as everyone was uniquely quirky in their own way. However, she preferred to think that the survey was inapplicable to her because she was the kind of person who would never tell someone such important words under just a few months.

At least, she thought, so long as the exact words never come out of her mouth, she could escape being part of the percentage those surveys talked about. Other people could have called her dramatic, they could have said many other things if they were not in her shoes, and they might have rolled their eyes at her refusal to accept those three words, but it was the only thing that kept her sane and made her certain that they were still going through with the plan. If she does not say it out loud, then she could still say that she had a lesser attachment than she actually had and there were no worries about the problems that would come knocking at her doorstep.

But the emotions screamed at her loudly, pounding at her head because she already understood a few days ago that I can’t breathe would never have been enough to express the feelings that have grown way past the things that that turn of phrase encompassed.

“I-”

She longed to say it. There was a yearning in her heart that she was unable to suppress or relieve herself of just by saying I can’t breathe.

But Amity can be a coward at times, right?

So she settled for the next best thing and chose to abandon the assumptions she had come up with, by picking the safest option possible.

“I like you a lot.”

It was refreshing, that much Amity was certain. She was never good with words or being as straightforward as Luz was; she did not flaunt anything so much as she kept things locked up, but she did have a habit of doing more through actions, rather than through talking.

With that in mind, she fell asleep to the steady breathing of her person, phone situated near her ear, and she established the fact that if this were some kind of musical piece, she would have listened to it every night.

When morning came, Camila was startled to find Amity on her doorstep, carrying too many flowers than her body could have hoped to hold. The bubbly laugh that came out of the adult was enough to wake her daughter up and Luz scrambled to open the window above them, peeking to see what was going on. Much to her dismay, Amity apparently did not take her words to heart.

Well-

Technically, Amity did not buy the whole flower shop.