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Painted Green, Covered in Red

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1

“You want me to what?”

            Amity sighed, and reached out to massage her temples when she felt her head throb. Her thoughts were strewn about, unorganized for the first time in a while. Wisps of green hair stuck to her face because of the humid air in the eccentric café, her choker and wrist accessories tightening around her skin as she suppressed the irritation at the question.

            But at the same time, she knew she had no right to feel that way; her companion sat from across her, currently unhelpful in their predicament.

            Luz Noceda stared at her as if she had grown a second head. Her eyebrows were furrowed, and an unwelcoming frown was plastered on her lips, all while her arms were crossed. The infuriating bomber jacket she often wore was hanging on the chair. But she still wore the stupid beanie Amity wanted to burn so much, on her head, despite the stuffy air in the muggy café. Who would wear a beanie inside a warm café? Why do that to yourself? Luz patiently waited for an answer that Amity took her time in giving.

Serves her right for her odd fashion sense.

            “Clean your ears, Noceda, I said I want you to…date me.” Amity gritted her teeth as a shiver ran down her spine. A blank look appeared on Luz’s face, as if the girl with dyed hair spoke to her in an alien language.

            Earlier that day, Amity had had the last straw. Her mother asked her to attend another dinner party with their “friend” from work. She had seen it as another guise to set her up with one of the many stuck-up, rich, male suitors her parents were inviting over for the past three months. Amity attended most of the unpleasant events and made sure to gross them out as much as possible, or at least silently glare at them just as much for them to back away. She would get quite a scolding from her mother afterwards, something about “unbecoming” of a Blight, but it was worth more to go through that than to find herself stuck with someone unpleasant for life.

            Certainly, Amity would have already committed arson if those narcissistic men had lived closer. But no, of course they just had to have large hectares of unused land out of the valley and lived off on them.

            Now here she was, sitting in The Owl House where apparently, they did not fry up owls. While the coziness was undeniable, with the color hues of the café giving off a homey vibe, Amity would not have come here if Luz had not been so insistent. She was vaguely aware that the owner was an interesting woman in her forties, who served up weird combinations that, to Amity’s shock, had been much, much better than the ones her parents’ hired cooks had conjured in all her years in the Blight Manor. She had no complaints eating here. In addition, none from her forcedly made clique would ever step inside the rusty shack-like diner. It was more than enough to get Amity to agree.

            “First, you ask me out to dinner. Not to our usual parking lot fights,” Luz started out slowly, and while she played with the black ring on her finger and tapped it loudly against the polished, wooden table Amity sat helplessly and observed the gears that turned in the other girl’s head. Before she spoke up with an astounded amount of assurance, going, “Are you sure, you’re not going soft on me, Blight?”

            Of all the conclusions she could come up with, this was uncalled for. Amity scowled and waved her off, opting to change her earlier statement, “I’ll correct myself. I want you to fake date me. For six months.”

            Her plan was flawlessly brilliant. Surely, her parents would be startled with her sudden streak of rebellion. Amity thought that six months of pretending to be in love with a girl and then breaking-up would get them off her back no matter if it were temporary. At least, there would be a period where they would leave her alone as if to give her space to move on from a relationship with not so much emotional attachments. At this point, Amity was willing to do anything if it meant a few months of peace.

She hoped so, anyway. She had the feeling that Luz Noceda and peace would not work well together.

            When she explained it to Luz, she expected questions. There would always be questions in business, and this was purely business. Luz listened in amusement as she sipped a strangely blue drink. Amity passed it off as blue lemonade. The Dominican-American coughed afterwards, and tried not to burst into laughter, which made Amity’s ears flare up in embarrassment.

“Look here, Blight. We’re sort of enemies sometimes friends. Why did you ask me of all people? Why not Boscha? Or one of your dumb friends? Did I mention Boscha?”

            Amity wrinkled her nose, shooting Luz her infamous Blight glare. Luz raised her hands in surrender, the playful smile on her face still unwavering. She offered up her strange drink as a peace offering which Amity would have flicked away if it were not in a glass cup.

            “Hey, you’re the one asking help from me. Also, stop trying to kill me with your looks, Blight. It doesn’t work on me.” Luz continued sipping from the straw, eyebrows raised mockingly.

            “Ugh. One, ew. I will not date Boscha. She’s hardly my friend. I am not that desperate. Even if I did, it’ll just boost her arrogance and she'll just show me off like an object. I didn't attend Hexside and worked this hard only to become a trophy wife, Noceda. The thought that it would make my parents happy and make them more insufferable than before is unbearable. I would still be playing their games.”

Just imagining the scenario filled Amity with disgust. She shook her head, eyes locked with Luz, who listened intensely and without disinterest in return. The hairs on her arm stood as Amity went over her plan once more in her head; There was no one else she could count on in her circle. So logically, she had to search for someone outside of it.

            “I hate to say this, but it has to be you, Noceda. They wouldn't see this coming. Besides being a girl and the fact that they won’t be expecting me to…not be straight after having straight A’s and being top student, you made a lot of changes in school policy just by transferring in. They abhor that. In addition, it could be believable since Hexside students are kind of familiar with our fights already and making up the cover story would take lesser effort. It would definitely reach my parents and cut me some slack.” Amity admitted, fingers unconsciously fiddling with the hem of her pink dress.

            “It-It’ll just be for six months. Surely, that would be enough time for them to give up or at least get them off my back…” Her voice faltered as she became more uncertain by the minute, the bundle of nerves leaving her palms clammy.

            Amity tuned out the background noise of the café, where the crowd bustled around, and conversations were exchanged. The table fell eerily silent and all Amity could hear was the pounding of her heart against her chest. Her heart sank when she considered the fact that Luz was going to say no. But she did not expect Luz to say yes either; they were not exactly emotionally close. The closeness they had was physical, where they would fight until their bodies were covered in bruises and then bandage each other up afterewards, doing each other’s make up to keep their little secret before going to school. It was a mutual agreement implied so they would not be involved in ridiculous nonsense conjured up by passing students. Which, the prestigious girl notes, was needed now.

Amity would never admit it out loud, but those were her favorite nights. She did not need to be Little Miss Perfect nor did she have to pretend to be able to speak so eloquently to the point she bet no one else understood what she was saying and were only nodding along.

“Okay.”

The answer snapped her out of her depreciating thoughts. She looked at her companion, wide-eyed and mouth agape-another unbefitting reaction from a Blight. But Amity stopped caring about what she looked like in front of Luz because the latter had once told her that she was ugly no matter what. (At some point, that got her a black eye from Amity.)

            However, Amity had never seen Luz looked as serious as she was now; even during their play fights, Luz had the tendency to joke around verbally even though she had never held back against the heiress.

            “I’ll do it, but I have to set my conditions.” Luz leaned back in her chair, the stupid beanie still clinging to her head, even as brown strands started sticking out chaotically. Amity was not surprised. Of course, Luz wanted to offer her own terms. She was basically rejecting Amity’s earlier offer and turned things around-now Amity had the power to say yes or no. Unfortunately for her, she had to accept the potestative condition and the consequences even if they would be unequitable. Nothing could beat the terrible fate of being Boscha’s girlfriend or being a trophy wife. Or both.

“Absolutely no lip kisses.”

            Amity blinked.

Huh?

“See here, Blight. I have no time for dating, much less, fake date you now.” Luz sighed, hand rubbing her nape. “But I will. I want you to throw away any expectations because I am not going to make out with you, neither will I take your first kiss because I am a hundred percent sure that you haven’t had that yet. I will not give you mine and force you either. That’s all I want, kapeesh?”

While she had the sudden urge to hit the girl for being certain that she has not kissed anyone yet even if it was factual, Amity had not thought about kissing. She forgot all about that. Oh, dear God, how could she have forgotten an essential part of dating? It must have shown on her face because Luz looked at her in disbelief.

“You didn’t think about kissing, did you?”

“I did not.”

Luz snorted and tried not to slam her fist on the table as she seemed to find the whole thing hilarious. “Blight, be glad you’re asking me. If it were anyone else, they would have surely kissed you without permission and you wouldn’t even have time to process it! Heck, you might have even punched them and the whole plan would fail a few minutes after you introduce them to your parents.”

Amity clenched her fists, face flushed. She hissed at the other girl, helplessly trying to step on her foot underneath the table.

“Shut up, Noceda!”

Luz did just the opposite, she howled with laughter, kicking Amity back. Amity sputtered curses and threats that did not reach the former’s ears, sadly. They were making so much noise that attracted onlookers who watched the debacle as Amity had snatched the half-empty blue drink and was trying to pour it over Luz’s head. Luz grabbed both of Amity’s wrists, making them look more foolish than Amity had thought possible.

“Okay, okay! I give! Does this mean you agree then?”

Amity paused, shooting the giggling girl a suspicious look. It was a favorable condition to both parties and Luz seemed genuine enough. Amity may not have known much of her personal life, but she has heard about how honest Luz was with her friends and had not exactly deceived anyone yet. Not to Amity’s head knowledge anyway.

She had one question, however. What made Luz agree?

It was either she was bad at masking her expressions or Luz caught on quickly, because she answered even before Amity had voiced out her thoughts.

“You should really work on your negotiating skills, Blight. Speak in my language! Give me the benefits I’ll be receiving. If you’re wondering why I put up no fight, I think the greatest reward is seeing your reactions after you experience my amazing girlfriend skills. It’s a win-win for me!” Luz had said so sweetly it made Amity’s stomach flip for no good reason.

She gave Luz a deadpanned look. “Pray I won’t break-up with you after three days.”

Luz shrugged and stuck out her tongue childishly. “You need me, princesa.

Before Amity could reply about when they started to be on a nickname basis, Eda, the owner, had come up to them and laid the bill down in front of Amity. Eda gave her a once-over and crossed her arms over an apron with the sown words, “30 and Flirty,” in messy font style. She tried to look menacing, but all Amity could focus on was the golden tooth that stuck out in the corner of her red lips.

“This kid bothering you, Luz? Do I need to scam her? Make her pay more?” Amity should take offense to that and point out that telling the victim what one planned to do would render it ineffective and that this person can go to jail for raising a proposal of committing a crime, but Luz only shook her head and smiled at Amity-or smirk, (most likely the latter), resting her chin in her palm.

“Nah, Eda. My girlfriend and I were just playing footsie.”

            What in the world is footsie?

Amity stiffened in her seat; a bit shocked at the words that came out of her-friend? Girlfriend? Enemy?- her person’s mouth. Something fluttered in her chest, as a surge of sudden warmth coursed throughout her whole body, giving color to her pale skin. It was absolutely foreign to her. There was a tug on the corner of Luz’s lips and Amity swore she could feel the enjoyment radiating from the girl as she stared the heiress down.

She had the inkling that Luz would not be as miserable as Amity in pretending for the next six months. Eda looked startled at the news before shrugging it off. “What is up with kids these days and their show of affection.” She muttered to herself, walking away as a small, black dog that Amity did not notice before, trailed behind her.

“So Blight, do you like flowers?”

When she turned back to gaze at Luz in spite, the girl was unfazed and was wiggling her brows in a teasing way. Amity felt a lump forming in her throat as she sighed. Maybe she should have thought this over for the thirty-eighth time.

“Oh, by the way, you should get used to Spanish.”

Chapter Text

2

_

­Amity woke up with a sense of dread when she found her siblings banging against her bedroom door at six-thirty in the morning on a Tuesday. She sat up groggily, brows knitted in annoyance. The youngest Blight yawned and dragged her feet across the room. When she reached the door and opened it, she was greeted by her siblings, Edric and Emira, who both looked too excited. They were still in their matching pajamas, green hair unkempt, as if they were not planning to go to their university today.

Amity was certain it was too early to be happy.

“Mittens! You didn’t tell us your girlfriend was here to pick you up-” Edric started, jumping like a little kid. Emira pushed him aside and squealed, “You didn’t tell us you were dating Luz! So, all those times you were sneaking out at night-”

Edric shoved her and pushed himself up too close to Amity’s face, continuing the phrase, “-you were seeing her, weren’t you?!”

It took a bit of time before Amity’s eyes fluttered opened as she processed the twins’ words. Girlfriend? Luz? She slammed the door in their faces before she ran to her window, her mouth forming a surprised, ‘O.’ Her nostrils flared in recognition at the fiery, red beanie that stuck out like a sore thumb. No one else would own such a hideous thing.

Luz stood afar off in front of their large gates, whistling to herself. She looked bored. Behind her, she brought a red hatchback. Her bomber jacket was tied around her waist, hands in her pants’ pocket as she leaned on the car door. Coincidentally, she had looked up straight at the window just as Amity almost let out an undignified squeak. When Luz saw her, her eyes lit up and she waved.

“Yo! You aren’t ready yet?” She shouted shamelessly.

Amity did not sign up for this.

Well, she did but she thought none of it when Luz had asked her what time she went to school. Amity answered nonchalantly before Luz had insisted walking her home to the gothic manor that sat on a hill outside the city.

Amity recalled rejecting Luz’s offer because she had brought her car and was relieved that the dinner had been cancelled as her parents were called for an urgent business trip in the neighboring town. She remembered passing out in exhaustion without a care in the world.

She should have known Luz would start a plan the next day without her input.

Not even answering back, Amity closed her windows and pulled the curtains over it. She was going to be late.

Fifteen minutes later, she came down hurriedly, clad in a pink dress, as her siblings hollered behind her. Luz was still there, apparently not a figment of Amity’s imagination. She was on her phone, concentrated on a game, Amity assumes. When the gate closed behind her, that was when Luz put her phone away and grinned.

“We didn’t discuss this-” As soon as Amity opened her mouth, Luz had covered it with her hand. “Hold that thought, Blight.” She replied, turning away from Amity and pulling out something from inside the car. She hummed as she did so, and Amity tried looking over the other girl’s shoulder to see what was important enough to be interrupted for, only to see a white tulip come into view.

“This is for you, mi novia.”

She turned back to face Amity and handed out the flower cheekily, probably enjoying the way the girl’s eyes widened. Somehow, so many things happened all at once. Her siblings had taken over the speaker above the front gates, spitting out teasing words that Amity ignored. She was so surprised that Luz ended up grabbing her by the arm and dropping the flower in her palm.

Huh?

Amity was startled.

Huh?

This was new. Luz had never been sweet to her and neither had Amity received anything from Luz; if she was on the receiving end of something from the girl, it was punches and kicks, maybe a few band aids. She stared at the tulips quizzically before gazing at Luz, confused.

“What’s this for?”

“…Is this your first time getting flowers?” Luz said in amusement.

Amity squinted at her. “I received plenty of bouquets but not a single flower. Much less, from you.”

Luz rolled her eyes and shrugged. She stepped aside and opened the passenger seat, prompting Amity to go inside. “Of course, baby Blight has received the most expensive stuff. It’s why I settled for a single flower that symbolizes purity and respect. After that kiss comment last night, I thought it fits.”

Her siblings who were listening in exploded into what they thought were ‘smooching sounds,’ and Luz found it funny enough to pucker her lips and wink at the girl. Amity would have thrown the tulip back at her, but she held on it tightly and kicked Luz’s exposed shin instead.

The smile instantly disappeared as Luz groaned and grabbed her by the shoulder, frowning.

“Easy, Blight. I can’t exactly drive you with a broken leg, can I?”

“You’ve got two!”

Amity replied haughtily, stepping inside the vehicle. If Luz noticed that Amity had not even let go of the flower, she said nothing and if she heard the small ‘Thank you,’ Amity had mumbled, Luz’s smile was not the indication thereof.

_

“You’re kidding me.”

“Blight, stop being a tsundere.”

She did not know what that meant; but Luz asking for them to hold hands when they get out of the car for the whole school to see was absurd. After they arrived in the parking lot, Luz had reached out to her explaining that that was what couples do, to which Amity scooted away from, horrified by the idea of physical affection that not even her parents showed.

“Blight.” Luz warned, her expression morphing into something that said, ‘I’m literally doing my job here, stop making it hard.’

“It’s weird!”

“Oh my God, stop being a baby!”

Luz grabbed her free hand and laced their fingers together, pulling Amity from across the seat. She looked down at their fingers, something prickling at her skin when she realized that Luz had started rubbing her thumb over her palm in a comforting manner.

Too intimate.

Too much.

Amity experienced something swell inside her when she glanced up to protest, only to be met by Luz’s chocolate brown eyes. She had seen them plenty of times, but today it was without the usual murderous intent. Her body tensed when Luz leaned in only to grab the bag in her lap.

“There, was that so hard? Now give me your bag.”

“No-”

“Blight-Just give me that-The door’s lock, dumbass!”

Amity had no doubt that someone was bound to report to her parents after this. When the two had walked through the doors, hands intertwined, Luz holding both their bags in the other, the students quieted down. The sight of the top student holding hands with a well-known delinquent would be some juicy gossip, after all.

Luz paid no heed to this as she walked towards two of her friends at the end of the hall, tugging Amity along with her. “What are you doing?” She hissed under her breath, panic flooding her as they passed her circle of “friends”, whose eyes were fixed on the two. Amity glanced forward, only to be greeted by the familiar faces Luz always hung around with.

“Introducing you to my friends.” Luz said simply.

“But I already know-”

“Woah! Did someone put superglue on your hands or something?”

A boy with curly hair and dark skin glanced at their hands curiously, eyes holding genuine wonder. Amity remembers his name to be Augustus. A smart kid who had skipped some grades and was in some of Amity’s classes. Amity acknowledged his quick wits, but he should really work on his discernment.

“Gus, please tell me you don’t actually think that.”

Willow raised a brow, eyes also focused on their hands. She gave Amity a knowing look and Amity was not even aware what Willow knows at all. Although when Luz released her hand, shifting to balance the bags she carried, Amity was raddled at the wave of disappointment washing over her.

But it soon disappeared when she felt Luz gently wrap her arm around her shoulders, keeping her on her toes. Despite the initial squeak she had let slip out of her mouth and Luz’s chuckle, Amity stayed silent when she became mindful of where they were. Luz’s friends were still waiting, probably for something they-or at least one of them-knows already. Amity was puzzled to find herself leaning into the touch when Luz pulled her close enough to be pressed against her side. It felt nice. No, Amity was uncomfortable. Yes, that was definitely it.

“Guys, this is Amity. Mi amor.” Luz’s voice was loud and proud, boastful, and absolutely not blissful to Amity’s perked ears.

The reactions were instantaneous.

Gus’ mouth fell open, Willow looked surprised as her hands dropped to her side and Amity whipped her head to stare at Luz in shock. Amity might have been terrible at Spanish, but she understood what those two words meant, by accidentally listening to Spanish songs in passing. No thanks to Dora. The sudden declaration left Amity flabbergasted and Luz was a good enough actress to even dare look sheepish!  She was so casual about it that Amity almost believed her.

“She’s what?”

I’m what-oh right, I am.

Some silly students who were eavesdropping paused in doing whatever they were supposed to do and gaped at the two. Amity could not blame them; the possibility of superglue was more plausible than them dating. Supposedly. After what it seemed like an eternity of background noises, Willow coughed to gain their attention.

“Why is Amity so surprised?” Willow questioned slowly.

            The two-or more like everybody at this point-turned to scrutinize the young Blight. While Amity had been used to attention since she was a kid, she was not prepared to announce something part of her nonexistent love life. She was going to repay Luz later for this chaos.

“I-Yes.” She stuttered, trying to gain back her composure. She felt a slight squeeze on her shoulder and was immediately reminded that Luz was still holding her confidently. “N-Luz. Luz is my…my person. I just…didn’t expect her to tell the whole school so soon.”

She did not need to look at Luz to know that she was trying not to laugh again. Amity will deal with her later. For now, she mentally scolded herself. My person? What kind of human being says that?! And I stuttered! How would that be convincing?!

Thankfully, Divine Providence had heard her pleading prayers as the bell shrieked, signaling the start of first period. Amity excused herself, not wanting to answer any more personal questions and because she was about to risk losing her top student status.

“Wait!”

For the nth time that morning, Luz grabbed her hand and Amity frowned, already in a broody mood.

“Noce-Luz whatever you’re going to say, tell me later, I need to get to class-” She was cut off as Luz leaned in and winked. Her confusion at what it meant quickly turned into shock as she felt something moist press against her cheek, freezing her in her place. Luz took her time, enjoying the way the students erupted into loud murmurings while Amity’s mind went haywire, the lessons she had studied in advance from weeks prior saying goodbye and leaving her head empty.

She kissed me.

Her face flared up at the realization.

“I’m sorry for not asking first but I didn’t want you to be unnaturally tenser than you already are, Blight. And really? Your person? Give me a better nickname, princesa.” Luz whispered in her ear, before stepping away, a smug smile on her face.

“Good luck, hermosa. I’ll pick you up after classes.”

Amity was about to have a heart attack because of that.

She forced a smile before waving goodbye and half-jogged away from everyone else, towards her classroom in the far corner. She ignored the way phones flashed left and right and pretended her face was flushed because of anger.

By now, she was sure there was no need to say anything else.

_

Amity should not have jinxed that.

True to her word earlier that day, Luz waited for Amity outside of the science laboratory, which was her last class. Gus and Willow were nowhere to be found and Luz was holding a water bottle which she had pushed into Amity’s face as soon as she came out of the room.

“I thought you’d be thirsty, mi reina.”

She would have to search whatever those things meant when she got home. Amity was not sure what charade Luz was playing with her right now, but she was sort of grateful because she had a stressful day, and a water bottle was welcome.

But certainly, nothing is for free. When she took the bottle from Luz’s hand, a genuine ‘thank you,’ on her tongue, Luz had looked at her expectantly. Amity’s sensitive ears picked up on some of the whispers from the students that surrounded them once again and it dawned on her what the other girl wanted.

“I am not kissing you.” She whispered, the knots in her stomach tightening.

“People are watching, Blight.” Luz whispered back.

Amity’s face flared up when she saw the mischievous glint in Luz’s eyes as she bent down slightly. She swallowed the lump in her throat, hand twitching with the urge to give Luz another black eye. Amity scowled inwardly and mulled over how she was going to get her revenge for this. She leaned in with her still red face to give Luz a quick peck on her cheek. The sounds of gasps were on que and it irritated her.

Do these people not have any lives of their own?

“Thanks.” She muttered.

Luz had that dumb grin on her face again. It made Amity want to pull her hair. She sucked in a sharp breath and swiftly turned around to flee the scene, a mix of irritation and unknown feelings swirling inside of her. She did not have to look back to know that Luz followed like a happy puppy.

Amity kissed her.

Well, it was just a peck-

I still kissed her!

As soon as they turned a few more corners and finally got out of the public’s eyes, Amity bared her teeth and attacked Luz.

Chapter Text

3

The following week was no better.

It was the annual rugby season where Hexside went toe-to-toe with their rival school. The halls were decorated with posters and signs of support for The Banshees, printed photos of popular players’ faces greeting you as soon as you step inside. Last year, Amity Blight was one of the stars that Hexside took pride in, the face used in their propagandas until she decided to quit their last game.

Amity and Luz were in the cafeteria, arguing back and forth about how sharing a tray of food was stupid and dumb, and not sweet and cute, as Willow and Gus ate quietly, entertained at the fight happening in front of them. They argued just as much as they did before Luz had unceremoniously announced them dating.

“They literally have the ability to feed themselves, why do you need to feed me?!”

“I’m trying to be sweet here!”

While Amity did not usually have lunch because of unbearable companions or that she would rather be in the library during that time, Luz cussed at her and said that it simply would not do; thus, she had dragged her to eat with Gus and Willow. On the third day of trying to shove away the food Luz insisted on feeding her, Amity’s old coach, Lilith Clawthorne, approached their table. She was a tall woman with raven hair and piercing blue eyes, carrying an air of intimidation as she towered over them, abruptly stopping the arguments. Behind her, two of Amity’s old teammates appeared.

Amity had an inkling she was not about to like where this was going; Boscha and Skara were not exactly keen on approaching Amity when the latter had ditched them. Lilith Clawthorne was well-known for her dislike of interacting with people unless they were for professional reasons.

“Miss Blight, we have a favor to ask you.”

She proceeded to go on about a player being injured because of drunk driving and was placed in a time out. Unfortunately, Amity already knew what they wanted even if they did not say so directly. The school was very picky about who made the team or not which now raised the problem of having no substitutes to take the injured player’s place.

She gave them a half-hearted answer that spoke of no promises, which had noticeably made them upset. Amity sighed heavily and closed her eyes, trying to calm herself. It made her forget that she had company until there was a gentle nudge on her side which made her bristle. She peeked over her shoulder to see Luz offering her a piece of apple pie. Not feeling up for another bicker, she opened her mouth to accept it. Luz let out an audible sound of contentment and repeated the gesture which once again, Amity accepted, albeit a little bit embarrassed.

“I’m about to bite your hand off, Noceda.” Amity warned, catching a glimpse of Luz smiling at her.

Underneath the table, Luz grabbed her hand, lacing their fingers together which Amity was still having a hard time getting used to even after a week. But she was a bit relieved to find that her body had relaxed a little and that there were even times she had reciprocated the gesture, telling herself that it was good enough to avoid suspicion from the crowds. This was one of those times.

“You should do it.” Luz encouraged softly, rubbing circles on Amity’s hand.

Amity eyed her wearily at the statement. Gus and Willow had excused themselves earlier, talking about overthrowing a mole that had infiltrated the boy’s club and Amity expected Luz to go with them, but she sat through the dirty looks her old friends had given her. Lilith had ignored Luz entirely, including the jokes she had chipped in, as an attempt to lighten the mood.

“Why?” Amity pursed her lips.

“Because I want to see my girlfriend burn the other team to the ground!” The statement was said nonchalantly but at the same time, a fire burned within the taller girl’s brown eyes. Luz raised her fist in the air, other hand squeezing Amity’s in comfort as she talked incomprehensibly about ‘ka-booms!’ and ‘ka-pows!’ She chattered about game plans and ‘sweet revenge’ for something shady she most likely was involved in and Amity had no clue about it. But the only words she managed to hear before her brain became mush was the ‘girlfriend’ word.

 If she was drinking something, she would have choked. Luz had been calling her terms of endearments that made it harder to concentrate on anything whenever she did so, like how she was yelling about it right now, drawing the attention of other students. It was funny, the way people were giving her weird looks, which should have bothered her but it did not.

Amity felt a tug on the corner of her lips, a smile gracing her lips. She flipped her hair, making sure it hit Luz in the face.

“I do not condone violence.”

Luz scoffed at the obvious lie, slapping her hair away and pointing a finger on her chest, exclaiming, “You’re a fucking arsonist, Blight, stop hiding it!”

Amity had to admit, it was not the most conventional way to convince her and no one has ever taken her off guard with words, but Luz had always tried pushing her buttons to see what works. I must say, she’s becoming an expert at that. When she relayed her agreement to Lilith, she was given the green light with almost no delay, to lead the team, Boscha begrudgingly backing out as team captain.

Luz had disappeared from her side in the days that followed, and Amity only saw her whenever they finished their evening practices. She would spot the annoying beanie in the bleachers, where Luz slept soundly, a plastic bag in her lap. She found out what was in it when she approached to wake her the first evening. Luz would offer a meat bun which she insisted was a good source of nutrition especially after Amity felt spent over the practice games.

She had learned to just accept whatever it was Luz gave, triple-checking if she was trying to poison her or not. She tasted some of them for the first time which she was more than inclined to welcome, seeing as her parents preferred being served delicate dishes that Amity had become more than sick of after years of living a sheltered life in the manor. This was one of those rare moments where she could eat anything she wanted without being chastised.

“I might be late for your game,” Luz frowned and stated three days before the game.

Amity had been anxious about it and even though Lilith offered to give her the day off, she preferred to practice overtime. When Luz waited in the car, wondering about why she still has not appeared when she saw Boscha and Skara already leave minutes prior, she went to the fields to discover Amity just standing in the middle, spaced out as she held a ball in her hands. The taller girl had placed her jacket on Amity’s shoulders, jolting her out of her mental turmoil.

“Want to go home?” She suggested patiently. Amity nodded as Luz led her to the locker rooms, their hands occupied by each other.

Amity was half-awake in the passenger seat, freshly showered and using Luz’s jacket as a blanket when Luz muttered something about plans, occasionally glancing at Amity as she drove back to the Blight Manor.

“You’re going to attend the game?” Amity mumbled, trying her best to listen even as her body ached enough to break her concentration. Why Luz felt the need to attend, Amity did not know. But thinking over it again, it was probably because they were fake dating and it would not be good for either of them if she was not there.

“’Course, I am. I’ve attended your games before, and I relish in seeing the other schools lose,” Luz boasted as if she were one of the players who had achieved countless victories. Amity chuckled to herself, before confusion took hold of her. She never saw Luz in the crowds, not like she was looking for her specifically back then.

“So supportive.”

Luz quieted down after that. The city lights faded behind them as barks of trees greeted Amity’s half-lidded eyes and rustling leaves filled her ears. The breeze that slipped in from the rolled-down window left her colder by the passing minute. She pulled the jacket over her and snuggled in it, catching a whiff of pine trees and lavender soap. It was a large contrast from when she would be overwhelmed by the combination of the stench of blood and sweat after they beat each other up.

The radio played out a country song she barely recognized and the last thing she heard before falling into deep slumber was, “I’ve always supported you, idiot. People need to notice your hard work and that’s what I’m here for.”

Huh. Amity should chide her at that but maybe when she was more awake. Right now, sleep called after her and she was willing to follow.

            When she woke up the next day, her siblings showed her photos of Luz making a peace sign next to her bed, a marker in hand. Fortunately, the mustache she had drawn on the girl with wild hair washed off quickly. The unfortunate thing was that Amity had not seen her the following day, leaving her sitting with her old teammates and being forced to join talks about Penstagram and pedicures. She was starting to remember why she stopped eating lunch long ago. She poked at the cafeteria food which oddly resembled spider legs mushed in a yellowish sauce. How her rival slash fake girlfriend was able to eat this without gagging, Amity will never know. She scowled at the thought of the missing person. She would usually be bursting inside the cafeteria by now, shouting nonsense.

No one was brave enough to ask her why she treated people sourly more than usual, but Amity heard some gossips attributing it to Luz’s absence. She neither denied nor confirmed it, but her aggressive behavior during the practice game mortified her teammates which made them secretly wish Luz would be on the bleachers like she normally was. Amity could have directed all the anger at her, sparing her teammates from the stress.

“You totally miss her.” Boscha sneered during one of their water breaks. Amity responded by accidentally hitting her head harder than intended.

            She drove alone that day, angry at the rumors she heard and considered leaving more bruises the next time she saw the girl with the stupid beanie. She will not be bringing band aids too.

_

When the day of the championship arrived and the middle of the game was already in tow, Luz was still nowhere to be found. Amity was on the field, calling out for a half-time. The Hexside sports' uniform felt uncomfortably tight around her figure and she wondered if it was due to the nerves or if it was because of every junk food Luz had fed her days before. She walked back and forth near the benches, muttering strategies to herself. A glimpse up at the scoreboard where they were only a few points away from catching up to Glandus High made her extremely jittery. They could win if time was on their side, but she herself was at her physical limits. She cannot recall the last time she had been this tired but she maybe did not regret leaving the team after her body felt the repercussions of going back.

Her teammates were gathered in the corner, wiping sweat and hydrating themselves. As much as Amity wanted to join them, the anxiety was getting to her and the irritation at the fact that the person who encouraged her to play was still missing. The nerve. Amity paused at that thought. She did not need Luz to win, that was uncalled for. Amity hesitated, irked at the loud cheers from the rival school which threatened to overwhelm her.

“This isn’t looking good.” Amity muttered to herself.

Before she became more frustrated with herself and her inability to turn things around, a megaphone resounded throughout the field, with an all too familiar voice screaming, “OUT OF THE WAY, ASSHOLES!”

Surprisingly, people parted and grew silent, finally getting Amity’s attention. She whipped her hair back, eyes wide and mouth falling open in shock. Gus and Willow stumbled to the front of the bleachers, carrying a large, folded cloth. They wore Hexside-colored sweaters and caps, smirks on their faces. Amity squinted, searching for the third person in the group, wanting to give her a piece of her mind for being unreasonably late, absent, and stupidly just gone without a word, making everyone doubt that they were on good terms and were still dating.

Oh my God.

            The crowd was still paved as the yelling continued, even distracting the rival team and their fans. A mop of brown hair popped out from behind the folded tarp and Amity paled. Luz appeared to have ditched her striped shirt and ripped jeans in favor of a gold and blue sweater with AMITY BLIGHT printed on the chest, paired with a cheerleading skirt and-

Were those pom-poms?!

            The beanie Amity hated with all her being was gone, showing off Luz’s brown locks where shorter strands spiked out messily behind her ears. Her legs were patched in colorful band aids, no doubt from their recent fight and despite the cold, the tall girl looked unbothered. If Amity thought she had already been rendered speechless, as soon as Luz noticed her looking, she waved enthusiastically and turned the megaphone on.

“AMITY! You don’t know how long this took me!” She complained before digressing into another cheer, “GO BANSHEES, AMITY GO KICK THEIR ASSES! Or wait, is that grammatically correct-? Whatever, GO WIN THIS GAME, MI NOVIA!” She looked back at the shocked crowd and growled loudly into the megaphone. She moved away momentarily from the megaphone and said something to Willow who had given her a red bat in return. As soon as Luz looked satisfied she turned back to the stunned crowd.

“All of you start shouting your support or I’m going to bash your heads with my bat.”

            It did not take long for her words to sink in, which then elicited a surge of loud shouts and soon enough, Hexolios were all standing and jumping around, infected by Luz’s energy (or probably her threats) while the cheerleader ran around frantically in front, pulling people up from their seats.

            “Oh my God…” Amity blurted out, face turning tomato red when she heard the coos and squeals behind her. Boscha’s obnoxious laughter rang in her ears and Amity could not have been more embarrassed until Luz motioned her friends to open the cloth they were holding.

            They threw it forward and Amity let out another strangled sound which was a cross between a gasp and a sigh. It was a banner, with some of her rugby pictures last year, organized in a collage. But what took up more space, were the big, black letters that read, “GO AMITY BLIGHT, MY PRETTY PINK CHIHUAHUA! AMOR SEXY!”

            As if it was not enough, Luz shouted out the written words. The jock could hear the glee in her voice as she yelled, expressly enjoying the thing she had most likely planned for the past few days. Amity cannot believe Principal Bump was not putting a stop to this. She cannot believe Luz just called her a dog. She absolutely cannot believe each word to be printed and shown for the whole school-soon-to-be-world to take photos of!

            “I’ll give you more kisses if you win this!” The ooh’s echoed around the field, the crowd cheering louder than when the game began. Some of Amity’s teammates slapped her back and ruffled her chaotic hair, voices tinge with teasing.

            Amity was going to kill her.

She was going to straight-up commit murder by arson and burn that banner along with the beanie and Luz.

There was a sudden boost of energy from within her, and the captain was unsure if it was because of the sudden shot of adrenaline about what just happened or she just had a secret, physical reserve. The whole thing was so ridiculous and dumb and stupid, and it placed a devilish grin on her face when she entertained the thought of beating up the cheerleader. Her body was pulsing hot and she assured herself that the blush on her face was because of the pent-up anger she was going to unleash.

            “Girls,” she called out calmly, cracking her knuckles as her mind recalculated the strategies she had conjured for the perfect game plan. Amity scanned the fields, several ideas and their probabilities popping up in her mental chart. She narrowed them down to find the most practical and possible game plan with how stretched-out the time was.

She was a Blight. Her plans were flawless, well-mapped and merciless. Amity Blight does not lose. Especially not after that show that flaunted a needless amount of effort on Luz’s part.

“Listen up. We’re going to beat them to a pulp.”

In the next few minutes, Amity was unstoppable on the field. She tackled larger opponents with a strengthened physique and she was relieved to find that having street fights actually did her good. She shouted orders left and right with no room for arguments, highly aware how Luz was stepping over the bars, Willow and Gus trying their best to hold her back before she fell. It would have been a hilarious sight other than being a distraction. Hexolios were on the edge of their seats, holding their breath until Amity could score trys from when Amelia had passed her the ball while they ran.

“YEAH! BEAT THEM UP LIKE YOU DID ME!”

“She really wants those kisses, huh.”

She really wanted to behead the cheerleader.

            When the long whistle sounded and Hexside erupted into cheers, it dawned on Amity that they had won after her last shot. Her teammates ran up to her and wrapped the captain in hugs. The blaring lights that captured the whole field in its view was directed painfully at her face as they hoisted her up, deafening cheers findings its way to her ears.

They won.

“What a week...” She muttered to herself as exhaustion caught up to her, leaving her in a dizzy fit. She dropped her helmet to the ground and sighed in relief.

When the banshees decided to offer the trophy to Amity as a gift after the award ceremony, Luz finally jumped over the bleachers and ran across the field, dropping her pom-poms somewhere on the way before lifting Amity off her feet. Amity automatically wrapped her arms around the other girl’s neck to balance herself, eyes widening when Luz kissed her on the cheek for all eyes to see.

Amity swore the applauds were louder than when she scored and she felt oddly bitter about that but Luz genuinely spinning her around distracted her from her competitive nature. Inwardly, Amity was happy too, but she had a reputation to keep. So, she snatched the trophy from Boscha and whacked it on Luz’s head repeatedly.

“Ow! Why so hurtful, hermosa?!” Luz huffed, still not letting Amity down and if it was possible, she tightened her hold on her, pulling the player closer to her chest.

“For disappearing, not taking me home, being late and being so ridiculously dumb!” Amity recounted and tugged on the cheerleader’s sweater. Luz snickered and leaned in which made the Amity’s face erupt into flames. There was an intensity to Luz’s gaze as she inched closer and for some apparent reason, Amity’s eyes were almost about to flutter to a close when Luz kissed her nose.

“Missed me, much, princesa?”

She only received another whack in return.

_

Luz had taken her home, only to have seen her parents at the doors of the large manor. Apparently, an instructor who had been tasked to watch over her in the hallways and the game, sent photos to the Blight parents which prompted them to go home from another business trip. The posts on Penstagram trended around the student body of the school, but as for Amity’s mental schedule, it reached her parents slower than she thought.

Luz walked her to the door, wearing her bomber jacket this time, covering up the scratches Amity sneaked in when they were alone in the parking lot. Usually, Amity shooed her off, but she did not have the heart this time as soon as they reached the door after the silent walk. Her father and mother loomed over the two, a condescending look on both of their faces; although she was quite sure that her mother’s icy glare was much more prominent than the solemn gaze her father held.

Her parents were livid.

Perhaps that was an understatement.

When Luz introduced herself, hand outstretched for a handshake, Amity’s face fell when her parents ignored it, leaving Luz awkwardly standing there like an idiot. She should have expected that but it was still unnerving nonetheless. Time moved excruciatingly slow when her parents bade their time in sizing up the girl next to their daughter. It always took forever when Amity was alone, this was no exception.

“You can’t be serious, Amity,” Her mother started, sharp and bone-chilling.

She shot a disgusted smile at Luz who frowned in return but stood upright in her spot. The teen had the ‘I’m not backing down!’ expression written all over her face and Amity managed to not let out a nervous chuckle at that. When Amity started to say something in return, her mother’s fake smile turned into a deep frown that forewarn danger. The red lights in Amity’s head rang which made her shut up, an urge to vomit forming in the pits of her stomach.

Of course, there was no need for them to hear more because they already know everything that has transpired. They always did. If it were not for their intel, it was probably due to other things Amity would rather not now.

“You can do better than this. In fact, I have already arranged dinner with the heir of Belos industries tomorrow, which you will be attending.”

Something habitual clawed at Amity’s throat as she struggled to speak back. Before panic rose inside of her which would make her mechanically answer in affirmative, she felt a familiar brush of skin, which enveloped her whole palm. Luz had taken her hand, to all the Blights’ astonishment. She stepped forward beside Amity, back straight and face blank. Amity had seen her companion’s misplaced confidence many times, but these were not the times she thought Luz would show this particular side of her.

“With all due respect, Mr. and Mrs. Blight, but your daughter can’t see anyone else now.”

Luz’s voice was careful, calculating, and devoid of its usual quirkiness. But it was also firm and confident.

Amity saw her mother’s jaw slacken which quickly turned into a glower. Before she could speak, her father raised a hand and Amity flinched, thinking he was about to hit either of them. Her grip tightened around Luz hand and she squeezed back just as hard. Her mother stopped mid-sentence of spilling threats; attention quickly captured by her husband and she waited, tapping her foot against the pavement impatiently, golden eyes narrowed sharply.

He did not say anything for a while; instead, he examined his daughter under a scrutinizing gaze, making Amity feel smaller than usual. The air was thick with tension when his eyes shifted to the stranger between the four.

“Luz Noceda, was it? If we told you we would still hold dinner with Amity’s suitors, what would you do?”

His voice was low but nerve-wracking, somehow scarier than his wife’s.

Luz took a deep breath and Amity felt her palm becoming clammy. It did not deter her from having a solid and unyielding hold on her hand, however. The action was not left unnoticed by her parents, who frowned disapprovingly. The young Blight avoided their piercing eyes and checked on the girl beside her, who seemed to have calmed down. Luz gave her an encouraging wink and turned back to face her father and mother. Amity really hoped she would think about the answer or it would cost her all the hard work they have gotten done in the past few weeks.

Without missing a beat, Luz grinned and answered, “I would crash the dinner party, sir.”

Amity almost snorted. The mix between being respectful and cheeky was definitely one of Luz’s unexpected traits. Her mother looked absolutely stupefied at the answer and Amity was reminded just how much of an idiot Luz could be at times (if not all the time), but it was what made things fun. Her father bristled and frowned, deeming the answer unfit, Amity knew.

He continued with the questions, quietly.

“And if we stopped you from seeing our daughter indefinitely, can you do anything about it?”

At that, Amity’s breath hitched. Her father’s voice was calm and patient but held promises of a successful threat. She did not want to go through another round of stupid boys showing off their parents’ wealth. She could not possibly survive that emotionally again. If they disallowed her from seeing Luz, then that also meant no more of their late-night fights. She was going to be stuck in the stuffed mansion and the fear of the realization made her body tremble.

Luz, on the other hand, was unfazed as she answered the heiress’ father, something Amity could not possibly do in an immediate endeavor.

“The question is not if I can, sir. I will do something about it.”

“Alador, you cannot possibly condone this behavior.”

Alador sighed heavily, eyes leaving the two and staring at his wife down. His hands were back to positioning themselves behind his back, her mother glaring back at him menacingly so.

“We have had suitors over whom Amity had clearly rejected. Now we know why,” He grimaced, “Our name is already tarnished by Amity’s continuous behavior during her dinner dates with the past courters. Do you want another repeat of that?”

“To explain that is easy, honey,” A chill ran down through Amity’s spine at the vicious tone that came out of her mother’s mouth. She continued while staring down at Luz, saying, “She has been spending time with the wrong crowd. We just need to get rid of her. Then we can fix the mess she caused.”

Amity felt the fear turned into something cold at her mother’s words. Her mind flashed back to the times where she had to do every little thing her parents told her to do, like cutting off her friends and having to be forced to spend time with people they chose for her; forcing her to bully innocent people and having special treatment by bribing professionals with her last name. She felt the fear turn into suppressed anger boil inside of her, something that has piled up for a long time now. 

No. Not again.

“You can’t!” Amity blurted out, earning her parents’ undivided attention. Even Luz did not expect the outburst.

“Luz may not meet your standards, mother. But if your standards mean that I must hang around or marry a person who clearly does not care about my well-being and only wants to take away your wealth, then I think that you should be the one doing better.”

Amity was expecting a slap for such a shameful act of dishonoring the person who gave birth to her. But it never came, and what did, was a flash of green when Luz suddenly stepped in front of her. Startled, Amity moved back only to have caught a glimpse of Odalia raising her hand in rage.

Her father, almost expectant, had lifted his arm in disdain, “I think we’ve heard enough, Odalia,” Alador said quietly, but almost venomously to his wife. They turned away from the two teenagers and had a silent but heated argument.

Luz turned on her heel and grabbed Amity by her shoulders. The taller girl examined her face worriedly while her parents continued whisper-shouting for a decision to be made. She mouthed, ‘Are you okay?’ to which Amity only shook her head at. Luz, not knowing what else to do, had settled for a forehead kiss before a frustrated click of a tongue got their attention.

As if to signal that the conversation was over, her mother stormed in the manor, anger evident in every step.

How unbefitting of a Blight.

A few minutes of deafening silence fell on the three and Amity held her breath. Beside her, Luz stiffened but she held Amity close by the shoulders for reasons unknown to the latter. Her father lingered in the entrance of the manor, seemingly to be in deep thought until he stepped in the mansion to follow his wife, with not even a turn of a head. But when he was about five steps in, he paused and called out to the two coldly.

“Amity, you’re old enough to make your own judgement. We will not interfere this time but you have better not regret this one.”

When the door closed with a click! and Amity was sure her father had actually left, she fell to the ground, fingers shaking like tremors of an earthquake. Her eyes glistened with tears, the inevitable confrontation with her parents taking its toll on her. She did everything they asked her to do and weeks prior to this, she was filled to the brim with a rebellious streak that they had taken out just by speaking for a few minutes.

She had done it. She raised her voice against her parents and said something contradicting them. Whether she had done it out of trauma or because Luz’s presence made her feel braver because of their fights before, Amity did not know.

Luz knelt alongside her, jacket removed and placed on Amity’s shoulders.

“You okay?”

They would often say those words after a fight. Amity never imagined hearing it twice while she was on the ground in front of her house.

“Yes.”

She wondered if her parents locked her out and if she had to climb to the window on the floor above. Or maybe she could call one of the twins to open it for her just in case, assuming that they were not out partying at another college student’s house. While she contemplated the choices she had, she felt a hesitant hand on her back just as Luz coughed.

“It’s uh…cold outside. Body contact helps give warmth, right?” Her voice was odd, and Amity thought it was because no one would know what to say in this situation and that she was just trying to sound optimistic.

“Noceda, your hand can hardly be considered body contact.”

“Oh, is that an invitation?”

Before Amity could reply, Luz pulled the girl towards her and wrapped her arms around Amity’s smaller frame. The familiar scent of pinecones greeted her nose and Amity sighed, shifting her position to make herself comfortable. Luz buried her face in the girl’s green hair and nuzzled as if she were hugging a fluffy teddy bear. Amity felt like she should have pushed her away, but it was cold and body contact was indeed, warm and needed.

They sat there on the pavement for what seemed like an hour, intimately and deliberately too close, as Amity caught her breath. She watched as Luz fiddled with the black ring on her finger in front of her and paused.

“I have a statement to make though,” Luz started; voice almost muffled by Amity’s locks.

“You always have statements to make in the worst times,” The shorter girl scoffed.

Luz hummed, not dignifying her words with a response.

“I bet you your mother can’t win in a street fight against me.”

The night was cold and unyielding. But something light bubbled inside Amity at the image of her mother, with her frilly dress, fists up and screaming bloody murder against Luz and her bat. It was enough to send her on her knees, body shaking for a different reason, laughter filling up the open air.

Luz was going to be the death of her.

As revenge, Amity was going to keep the jacket.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

4

She never returned the jacket even when Luz challenged her to another fist fight in the park a few blocks away from the police station. Thankfully, the influx of suitors every week had abruptly stopped but Amity had a sinking suspicion that her parents were still monitoring her every move. However, she would forget about it as soon as she saw the familiar red beanie outside of their tall gates at six-thirty in the morning.

The two soon fell into a comfortable pattern. Luz would pick her up from school for the following weeks, a flower or sweet treat in her hand. Last week she received different colors of roses; another week she had been gifted a pack of different flavored jellybeans.

A shadow passed Amity’s face when she reminisced those days. Luz thought it would be fun to send Amity into a Russian roulette where she could either get a good jellybean or a stinky gym sock flavored one. Unfortunately, Amity had the worse luck ever. They went home with more bruises and scratch marks that night.

The only thing different was how Luz had parked outside of the manor sign where her mother could not bother pestering them with more depreciating and snarky comments when she drove Amity home.

Another time they argued about how Amity’s BMW had just been sitting in the garage, looking pretty and that Amity should also pick her up at times, but Luz refused, as if she did not want Amity to know where she lived. Amity had the resources to make an investigation for that, but asking Luz directly took lesser effort and Amity would rather not be pushy. In the end, they agreed to use it twice a week. Luz does not get to drive it though.

Amity learned during one of their car trips that Luz liked it better when her food was dyed blue.

“You have got to be kidding me, Noceda.”

“Blue food is a delicacy, Blight! Your high-class tongue will never understand!”

Amity wanted to tell her that everything would taste the same, but they would swirl into another argument to her distress. Luz was in the passenger seat of the BMW, looking out the window as they were stuck in traffic.

“If you were sick and I gave you tablets that aren’t blue, would you drink them?”

Luz leaned back on the comfy seat, almost raising her legs up before Amity shot her a dirty look. She rolled her eyes and slid down the seat before replying, cheeks puffed.

“First of all, bold of you to assume I’d accept medicine from you. Second, no. If they weren’t blue, I wouldn’t.”

“You’d die.”

“I can pin you for homicide.”

They continued bickering until the two arrived in The Owl House Café where Luz insisted to be dropped off every time. Before she left, she unbuckled her seatbelt and leaned over to kiss Amity’s forehead, a gesture she had become familiar with.

“Now you have to kiss me back.”

Amity responded with what seemed to be an alien sound.

“But nobody is watching!”

Luz did not move from where she was, eyebrows raised, still far too close for Amity’s comfort. She pointed behind her, eyes still locked with girl. The café was packed with unfamiliar faces, but the driver understood what that meant. More publicity. She sighed, her grip on the steering wheel so tight that her knuckles turned white.

Luz turned slightly as if offering her cheek and all Amity wanted to do was bite it out of spite. It did not take long for her to weigh the options; Luz must have been doing this so Amity would become much more comfortable doing it in public.

“Bye, Amity, make sure to not be distracted when you get home.”

That was hard to do since Luz kept invading her thoughts. Later, in her room, she started recounting the times Luz had called her Amity instead of Blight.

The young heiress still found herself perplexed with Luz’s random kisses before she goes to class or when they meet up afterwards. It annoyed the green-haired teen how her body now subconsciously leaned in every time Luz did too. But mentally, her thoughts would short-circuit, and Amity would be left ignorant of what to feel after. The lack of physical contact over the years must have left her wanting more, not that she would admit it out loud; she just wondered when she should return the show of affection and which time was appropriate to do so or not.

These questions plagued her thoughts on a Saturday morning where she had the day for herself. Her siblings were out doing whatever it was, her parents were called for business meetings and stressful projects and Amity gets to relax and goof around without the pressure of studying.

But now she was stressed over conflicted feelings.

‘Oh, Mittens, just do what feels natural!’ The imaginary Emira she created piped in, interrupting Amity’s self-reflection.

Goodness, she thought to herself, Life is much easier without a girlfriend. Fake or not.

Until her phone beeped.

She glanced at the screen, checking to see if it was Penstagram or if it was another fake lottery ticket that said she won. Luz stole her phone one time during lunch and changed both the lockscreen and wallpaper to her face. Amity stared at it for a moment. In the photo, Luz had taken a selfie, finger gunning at the camera. Her beanie was lopsided, brown eyes half-lidded and pearly white teeth shown in a teasing smile. The phone owner just thought that it would be a hassle to change it back, so she left it like that. Besides, Luz would just steal it back again if she had the chance.

It vibrated again, signaling another message from her fake girlfriend.

Jerky Noceda: Ami. Open ur big ass gates or I’m climbing in. 9:33 a.m.

Jerky Noceda: K, guess I’m climbing in. 9:36 a.m.

Amity raised a brow at that before she stood up from her bed, where she had laid past her usual eight o’clock routine. She blew a brown strand of her disheveled hair out of her face, noting that her mother would most likely make her dye it in a few more months or so. But her thoughts were quickly interrupted when she reached her window.

Oh, dear.

As soon as she saw Luz climbing their gates, she scrambled out of her room and quickly made her way through the front yard of the Blight Estate.

“What the hell are you doing, Noceda?!” She shouted in bewilderment.

“Your butler wouldn’t open the gates, princesa, what do you think I meant when I said I will do anything to sneak into your house? Also, to get in your room and grab my favorite jacket back. Maybe a few blackmail thingies too!”

There it was again, the warmth enveloping Amity’s cheeks at Luz’s words. She felt conscious of her unruly, green hair and suddenly she was very aware of the fact that she was still in her night gown. She fidgeted uncomfortably before shouting back as Luz yelped, almost getting herself tangled with the bars.

“This is hardly sneaking, idiot! You are literally wearing another green jacket and I could see your beanie from my window and-Get down from there!”

“Catch me then!”

“Dumbass, bold of you to assume I will!”

Luz’s lips jutted into a pout and her brows furrowed in mock anger. She was almost on the other side of the gate but Amity rather she not set the alarms off or her parents would surely come driving home, uncaring of speed limits. Luz stopped, crouched down as if she was in prison.

“Fine. I’ve always wanted to try climbing a rich girl’s gates, though.”

She jumped down, almost stumbling in the process as she did so. As she dusted herself off, Amity noticed how well-built Luz was from where she stood. It was not particularly obvious most of the time, due to the oversized shirt she always wore, tucked in ripped jeans. Her legs were slightly toned, and Amity wondered if she did some kind of exercise other than punching and kicking people in the faces.  But she chided herself for such thought when she remembered how Luz could not even carry more than two grocery bags a month ago when they had to go pick up Eda’s grocery list for some apparent reason.

‘My weak nerd arms!’ She wailed.

She barely registered Luz’s words until she noticed her mouth moving. Amity blinked, wiping the smile off her face when she saw how Luz tilted her head in puzzlement when Amity has not responded.

“Wait, what?”

“Dress up in something warm, we’re going to the ice rink!”

_

Amity had half the mind that Luz deliberately brought them here because Amity had told her once that she was never allowed to do something “fun.” The other half was her knowing that Luz just wanted to see her fail at something.

Three months into this fake relationship and she still could not work out Luz’s thinking. She blamed the beanie. It was some sort of magical artifact that kept Amity from figuring the girl out. Someday she will find a way to burn it without Luz noticing, lest she burn the girl with it.

When they arrived at the ice rink, Amity decided to leave her jacket in the car, rebelling against Luz’s warning that it was going to be colder inside. It was not because Amity was hoping to expand her Blight collection of Noceda jackets.

Okay, maybe that too. But Luz had many bomber jackets, no one else would notice the difference.

“Geez, Blight. For a top student, you aren’t that bright, are you?”

The temperature dropped when they set foot inside the rink, waiting in line for a pair of rented ice skates as the employee gave each person different skates. Amity sported a plain, white tee, tucked in black jeans and brown combat boots. Luz on the one hand, had gone for her favorite, purple-striped shirt and ripped jeans.

“I-Just give me that jacket on your waist since you seem so unaffected!” Amity huffed, hugging herself to keep warmer. She sniffled and tried her best to look less colder than she actually felt.

Luz rolled her eyes but verbally refused to give up another jacket that Amity was not (was) going to add to her collection. She forgot about it however, when she realized she got something better. Finally, finally, Luz took the ridiculous beanie off her head which elated the girl, thinking that Luz just took it off to fix the ridiculously unkempt hair of hers. Amity cheered internally, as she stared at the short locks of brown hair and grinned, forgetting her past problem of being cold.

 “Jesus, yes, you finally took it off-”

Her happiness was cut short, however, when Luz had placed the beanie on her head. Amity was simply say, horrified. Luz pulled it tight over her ears, taking advantage of the shock she was currently in.

“Look here, princesa. Be a good girl and maybe you’ll get another jacket. Covering your ears is an effective way to get rid of the cold so this one is better.”

“I’m supposed to believe you-”

“Mami said it.”

That shut Amity up. Luz chattered so much that Amity had started to know Camila Noceda through her and from the stories alone, she already liked her mother. What she learned from Luz was that whatever her mother’s words were, Luz must treat it as absolute law. Amity had shrugged it off and played along. Anyone who could keep that girl in a leash is good in her book.

When they got their pair of ice skates, Luz stopped her from putting them on.

“Hold on, mi novia, wear this.”

There it was again, the strange but endearing nickname she has called Amity with for the past few months. Amity tried not to get used to it, reminding herself that Luz was just clowning her and will go back to calling her insults after another three months. The realization of having settled into one sweet thing with no underlying meaning and getting harshly hit by the truth made her want to throw up, heart aching at the thought. She did not usually allow herself to feel that way because if she let every word that people throw at her affect her; she would not have survived this long. So, she chose to ignore everything she thought before.

“Isn’t wearing your terrible beanie enough?” Amity crossed her arms childishly.

Luz scowled before she flicked Amity’s nose and went back to rummaging through her bag before they leave it on the baggage counter. She made a small sound of victory before pulling out something. When she showed it to Amity, something in the latter snapped.

“No.”

“But Amity-”

“Noceda, you will not make me wear kitten-printed socks.”

“No one would see!”

Amity tried slapping away the dangling socks, inching away from the girl who was very confident in her negotiating skills. Luz only followed suit and shimmied closer, eyes glistening with fake tears as she made her lips quiver. Amity wanted to slap both of her cheeks in retaliation.

“What would make you wear these socks?”

She was not going to lie; the socks were adorable. It was pink, with hues of red kittens printed around it. But Amity had a reputation to uphold and her name was well-known throughout the city, she cannot possibly be seen wearing cute socks-

“I’ll give you two more my favorite jackets.”

No, Amity was not going to fall for such atrocious, unequitable deal-

“I’ll take the beanie off for a week.”

“Give me those stupid socks!” She basically snatched them from Luz’s hands, leaving the girl cackling on the marble floor.

They spent the first half of Saturday, which was supposed to be only Amity’s day, in the ice rink, where Amity had a difficult time not falling down face-first in the cold, unforgiving ground. Luz made sure to hold her hand the whole time, cheekily grinning as she did so and also giving her an approving look every time she glanced down at the printed socks. Amity just flipped her off even though she was having fun purposely shoving Luz and betting which person fell more than the other.

“I’m pretty sure I won by a margin,” Luz placed her hands on her waist and puffed out her chest proudly. Her nose was somewhat tinted red from the temperature and Amity reached out to pull at the jacket, making Luz sway at the slight force as she zipped it up.

“Luz, doing a split with your ass just centimeters away from the ground does not give you a point, nitwit.”

They spent a decent amount of time warming themselves after Luz started shivering in the rink, before heading over to the mall up the hill, where Luz suggested to watch the new Good Witch Azura movie in the theaters after she found out that Amity had never, in her whole “unblemished” life, stepped inside a movie theater.

“What do you mean you haven’t seen a movie in theaters?!” Her hands flailed around so much that it left Amity dizzy.

“My parents don’t exactly want to, and I quote, ‘waste time in a terribly smelling theater where they are prone to local germs, while immature teens made out instead of watching.’ Basically, they think it’s a waste of money and resources.”

“Pfft. Okay, princesa, I’ll make sure to disinfect the seats for you and waste my money instead.”

            She had grabbed popcorn on the way, her other hand occupied by Amity’s own. In the end, she had triumphantly won the jacket that now hang limply on her shoulders when the owner claimed that it was becoming warmer because of the ‘afternoon’ haze of the sun.

While she slipped her arms in the large sleeves, Luz continued to rant about her personal theories regarding the series they both liked (which they found out about just recently after Luz went to school with a worn-out Azura printed shirt). Sometimes, Amity would engage and voice out her own suggestions which surprised Luz but made her look even more excited, literally bouncing in her seat.

“I thought you’d have watched it as soon as it came out though,” Amity wondered out loud when they settled into their seats, the popcorn settled in Luz’s laps and their fingers still laced. She felt Luz tensed slightly, eyes darting anywhere else other than Amity’s face.

Amity could always wait for it to come out in Netflix or something, but she remembered the nervous tinge in Luz’s voice when she had said that “It was a school night and she couldn’t watch it.”

Huh.

While it was a terrible excuse seeing as they had their parking lot fist fights during school nights, Amity waved it off. If Luz did not want to talk about it, she has the right to keep secrets.

“Besides, I don’t really have someone to watch this with me,” Luz mumbled while Amity stayed mummed, doubtful of how to respond to that. Instead, she made sure to sit near the corner of the theater seat and tried to get as close to Luz as much as possible. Amity was not big with words, but she could at least offer an awkward sort of ‘comforting’ action. She hesitantly laid her hand atop Luz’s larger one. She assumed that Luz understood when the latter flashed her pearly white teeth at her when the theater lights darkened.

Amity then stopped her mind from wandering for the rest of the movie where she soon found her head nestled on Luz’s shoulders, Luz automatically resting hers on top. She had her arm around her this time which Amity immediately melted into. While the girl still had her reservations of personal space, her girlfriend did not seem to mind when Amity initiated the contact.

They were both so engrossed in the movie, simultaneously gasping at unexpected scenes, and silently debating about what were to happen next. Amity did not have to look at Luz to know that her eyes were twinkling because her own face mirrored the same joy. Seeing a movie in the manor, through the flat screen television set in one large room with nothing but one sofa was vastly different from the bigger one flashing before her eyes in the theater.

It was breathtaking and she did not know if it was because this was the first time she has been here, or it was because this was the first time she was watching a movie that showcased a series she loved, also with someone who loved it just as much. Or both. She was not going to pick because Luz’s presence was tolerable, and this was the most comfortable she has been through every outing she has been to. In the back of her mind, she was curious if this was what girlfriends normally did together.

The word did not bother her until they were back in the car where she had blacked out in the passenger seat as Luz quietly drove them back home. With heavy eyes and drifting thoughts, Amity vaguely remembered her consciousness telling her that she had just called Luz her girlfriend for the first time until she could not think anymore.

Princesa, wake up.”

Amity opened her eyes to see the front gates of her large house. She was far too tired to recall the time or how long she had slumbered, or if they had just arrived and Luz wanted to get her out of the car as quickly as possible. Luz shook her softly as she tried to blink the sleep away from her eyes. Amity’s sight was blurry, and she squinted to see Luz who appeared to have been staring at her fondly.

Or maybe that was just the exhaustion making her hallucinate.

She stretched, back arched as she let out a yawn. Luz eyed her from the side, her face resting in between her arms placed on the steering wheel and it dawned on Amity that the engine had been turned off for a while now, judging by how cool it was getting in the car.

“You’re forgetting something, Amity,” Luz spoke playfully when Amity judged herself to be sober enough. Oh, right. Without a word, Amity half-stumbled towards the driver, hand settling on her leg, before she placed a kiss near the corner of Luz’s lips, dubitably convincing herself it was a cheek kiss.

Luz was stunned for a moment, stiffening under the contact, which made Amity pull back to tilt her head in question.

“What?”

They stared at each other, chocolate brown clashing with golden orbs. For a moment, Luz was pensive and appeared to be contemplating something. She bit on her lower lip as Amity sat still, filter still turned off and coherent thoughts long gone. Something felt off but Amity could not place a finger on what exactly was out of place. It was as if they were waiting for something but both of them were unaware of who should do what. She had an inkling that it could decide what happens after all this is over. It was as if they were stuck inside a bubble and one movement could pop the whole thing and leave them falling into an abyss.

Or, Her mind started.

You could crash into a roadblock since you’re in the car.

Shut up, smartass.

You’re literally me, me!

After what felt like hours, the Latina’s lips broke out into a smile as she leaned forward, hands hovering on both sides of the pale girl’s face. She caressed her cheeks, Amity’s eyes closing as she sighed in contentment. I feel so tired and this is nice. It was the equivalent of bedtime stories and someone singing her off to sleep. Luz gently tilted Amity’s chin up and Amity was inclined to follow, leaning in as a pair of lips made contact against her forehead. She sensed something falling off her head but she brushed it off, deeming it unimportant.

She did not know if it was her imagination, but she could have sworn that Luz took at least a second longer than she usually did before pulling away and with her, something red, leaving Amity’s hair messier than before, green strands sticking to the side of her face.

Amity realized too late that Luz had asked for the beanie back.

When she found herself in her bed the next morning, still wearing the kitten-printed socks and a single memory of a lingering kiss on her forehead, the sound of laughter resounding in her ears, she decided that yesterday was easily the best Saturday she has had in a long while.

 

Chapter Text

5

            When morning comes, bringing with it the chilly breeze through the open windows of Amity’s room, she expected nothing but to have a delighted time for sleeping in. Her body dipped in the comforts of her blankets, face nuzzled in purple and pink pillows, vaguely aware of the beams of sunlight that covered the large room in a whitish glow.

Sometimes, Amity stressed, she should just keep the descriptions to herself.

            There was a loud noise, with a door bursting open and slamming against the wall, creaking and hinges nearly popping out at the force. Thank goodness she had nothing placed behind the door or else it would have shattered.

            Edric and Emira stumbled inside, shrieking and speaking too fast. They shocked her awake with the sound of confetti and somehow accompanied by those poppers that they sound at birthday parties, jolting the Youngest Blight off her king-sized bed. Not wanting to deal with them, Amity ignored them, crawled back under the covers without so much a glance at her visitors and grabbed one of her pillows to cover her ears. It did not lessen the noise per se, only making them muffled, but more bearable.

That is, until she could make out the twins congratulating her for something, and a word embedded itself in her mind. She peeked, hands grasping the edges of the purple pillow. Edric was wearing a party hat adding to Amity’s annoyance. Emira was holding up a paper with a Congratulations! printed in hot pink.

Then Amity heard it loud and clear.

            “Anniversary?”

            “Mittens, don’t tell me you forgot that it’s your fourth month anniversary!” Emira gave her a disbelieving look. She crumpled up the paper and threw it on the floor, before putting her hands on her waist.

The audacity of littering in my room.

            First, they greeted her, congratulating her for something her barely awake mind could comprehend. It was not until they mentioned Luz that she had started to wrack her brain again. It was almost too difficult to bear being awake so early in the morning. She took in her siblings’ dilemma again, searching in her mental dictionary for that unrecognizable word that she never really had the use for.

            “Anniversary?” Amity repeated.

            She rubbed her eye, head aching at having to think during a weekend where surprisingly, her brother and sister were not out of the ghostly manor. She sat up, resisting the magnetic pull of her bed.

            What the hell do couples do in anniversaries? Why did she have to celebrate it when it was not even a milestone?

            Edric sighed dramatically, falling over his twin who leaned back which made him hit the floor.  The girls snickered at the sight of their brother hitting his forehead. With a groan, he raised his head, brushed his hair to the side, and held up four fingers directed to Amity.

“It’s the fourth month since you asked Luz out, Mittens. Do something special for once.”

            Something in his sentence made Amity’s eyes flutter awake, an indignant gasp escaping her lips when she went over it again. Process complete.

“Wha-who said I asked her out?!” She shouted, eye twitching at how riled up she was at an ungodly hour.

            Why she ought to give Luz harder punches.

She fumed, imagining how steams must have been coming out of her ears with the terrified look Edric was giving her as he stuttered out an apology and correcting his fictious (not) words, also disregarding the fact that Emira was just giggling at the sidelines. Amity sighed and fell back to her pillows, wrapping her arms around one of her pillow pets. This took less effort than dealing with the twins right now.

“C’mon, Mittens, paying for gas is hardly something special. A couple naturally owns conjugal property so you can’t make that an excuse!”

She wanted to point out that she and Luz did not have conjugal property unless they were married or made written promises to offer them as such. A person as wise as Amity should know that making promises that would bite her back should be avoided at all cost.

“I payfh forhg foodsh,” She replied, remembering how Luz wanted to try whatever food she finds or sees. This always stopped them from reaching their destinations on time, even if Amity would join her in eating those odd dishes and regret some of it afterwards.

“Yes. That’s part of being in a relationship,” Emira said sassily, “You have her jackets; she still brings you flowers every morning and kisses you before and after class. Some of our contacts say-I mean, we saw that you rarely kiss her back when she does. So this brings up the question, what have you done, exactly?”

Was there actually a requirement to return effort that Amity was unaware of?

Jokes aside, now she felt bad.

The youngest pursed her lips at her sister’s accusations. As much as she hated it when her siblings-or rather, Emira-was right, the good points they shoot out like searing arrows to the heart were to be taken not just with a grain of salt. She groaned into the sheets, guilt clawing up her throat. It was true, money was not everything and now she felt like a jerk for accepting Luz’s gifts to the point that it was now second nature to her. Give her thanks, kiss her on the cheek when no one is around instead of being in the public’s eye, then step inside the vehicle before heading to school.

There were times Luz would tuck the flower in her hair, and other times, Amity would carefully keep it in a purple vase on her desk near the large windows in her room. If it were sweets, she would refuse to share the chocolates with her siblings, to Luz’s amusement.

But what did Amity do for her?

“Okay, so what do you guys supposed I do?” She replied in defeat.

When she got up, she was greeted by the devilish smirks of her siblings which made Amity’s heart stop. Each of the twins grabbed her by the arm and pulled her up and about, the unexpected action making Amity stumble, nearly hitting the furry carpet face-first.

_

Overthinking should be illegal.

Her heart stuttered in her chest, knees shaking in nervousness as she went over the plan one more time. It was Sunday; and while Amity and Luz usually texted on the weekends after the girl kept bombarding her phone with random memes until she finally answered. The thing is, this was the first time she took the initiative to ask her out, lest Luz once again climb the gates, (nearly getting caught by her father a few times) and disturb Amity’s peace and quiet.

Not that it was never fun.

Her siblings introduced her to two people yesterday, when they discussed what to do and how to execute it today. One of them was a girl just their age who goes by the name, Viney. She had dark hair tied into a tight bun and apparently was good at planning wild parties (which freaked the youngest out). One of her ears were pierced with what looked like a fishhook, but Amity decided not to ask about it and dismissed it as a fashion sense. The other individual was a tall guy named Jerbo who seemed pretty normal enough; his brows were furrowed slightly, eyes deep and calculating but at the same time gentle and paying attention. His hair was naturally messy and he had a high-pitched voice, taking Amity back when he addressed her. Edric said he could combine the weirdest stuff together and make it aesthetically pleasing to the eyes.

After all, what is a little chaos in Amity’s charts, right?

“We’ll be in charge of the preparations,” Emira assured.

“Yeah, mittens. You gave us all the things we need so you just go spend the day with Luz until evening!” Edric fist bumped.

She was glad to have been parked on the side of the road, with how unfocused she was today. It was not until a knock on her window snapped her out of her thoughts. Luz waved at her from the sidewalk, grinning from ear-to-ear. Somehow, the sight calmed her down and she unlocked the passenger seat.

“Where are we heading? You dressed up so fancy.”

Luz relaxed in her seat, glancing over at Amity who kept her eyes on the road. Amity had texted her, asking if she was free that day to which Luz had immediately replied that she was. She was glad that Luz was free or else all her blueprints and charts about today would have been for naught. She picked her up a few blocks away from the neighborhood, just near the gates with the printed words, Bonesborough Subdivision.

It dawned on her a few minutes in their drive that for the first time in a while, Luz did not have anything in her hands.

“I didn’t have time to go to the shop and buy flowers,” Luz chuckled when she caught Amity’s questioning gaze.

She frowned at the answer, just realizing that Luz went through so much trouble just to get her stuff, not to mention so early in the morning. The sun was still hidden in the faraway valleys, the sky lightening up as it slowly rose. Amity planned the day perfectly and it really needed to go the way she liked it and hope Luz would enjoy even though Amity did not consult with her the things she liked to do.

But the texting and the few months before helped. She learned that Luz had a wide range, from liking books and libraries, to making things explode and picking fights. There were a few times when Amity would get a call while she was studying; Luz would be out of breath, running away from something and was demanding the green-haired girl to pick her up. Amity would, getting into the thrill of being chased by an angry mob of people.

            For the occasion, she ditched her comfort clothes for a black, off shoulder tunic, held by a black belt on her waist. The magenta pendant she wore sat snuggly on her chest, glowing faintly in the darkness of the car. In contrast, Luz had sported her usual beanie and another purple-striped shirt. The only thing new about this one is that it had a chest pocket. Her jacket was thrown in the backseat, even though it was a bit cold today.

“Is that a new shirt?”

Luz was taken back, as if she did not think Amity was paying attention. She nodded slowly, rubbing the nape of her neck nervously. Her eyes darted from her shirt to the driver, face scrunching up uncomfortably.

“Yeah, I didn’t think you’d notice.”

Amity frowned at the stiff reply.

“We’ve been fighting since sophomore year, Luz. Of course, I’d notice. I still recall your weird combination of crop top hoodies, shorts and leggings, you know,” She snorted.

Luz’s ears flushed and for a second Amity thought she was going to challenge her to another fight, but Luz breaking into a grin was not one of the outcomes she had hoped for.

“Aw, baby Blight pays attention to me? So sweet.”

It hurt Amity’s pride that she had fallen prey to her own trap.

She made a sharp turn to the left, Luz falling forward to the dashboard and hitting the glass. Serves her right for not wearing a seatbelt. She slowed down when she saw the familiar sight of The Owl House sign blinking in the darkness.

She tried her best to look casual as they passed, Luz glancing out the window curiously. If she noticed something strange, she did not say anything. Luz occupied herself with the radio instead, connecting her phone to the speakers and started blaring out one of her poppy song choices. Amity listened, noting down how in the past few months, Luz would let her hear a mixture of English, Spanish, Japanese and-

Oh?

“Is that Korean pop?”

Luz laughed at the face she made, but Amity could not help but be stunned. She expected the Japanese really, with how Luz liked to flaunt her anime shirts in social events. It was not the first time Luz would play her songs in the car; Amity gave up on scolding her on her third try. There were songs that Amity had collected in her own playlist, so it was not all that bad.

Her companion turned her whole body to her, literally bouncing in her seat. She nodded vigorously before raising her hands and forming finger guns.

“You got me feeling like a psycho!” She sang along, voice cracking in the process.

Amity gasped mockingly, placing a hand on her chest. She did not understand the other lyrics, but she enjoyed how carefree Luz was in expressing…whatever psychotic thing the song was referring to, and it did not matter because Luz’s air guitar riffs were exhilarating to watch.

The next thing they knew, they arrived at the high-end arcade located at the edge of the west side where both lived. It was a humble (going by her parents’ definitions) structure that stretched out in the open, quite different from the buildings the Blights built that could almost be called as skyscrapers.

“Woah, woah, woah, how come I’ve only known about this now?!” Luz exclaimed, gawking as soon as Amity parked the car in the front. Someone came rushing out of the place, waving at her enthusiastically.

“That’s because it isn’t usually open to the public,” Amity grimaced, eyes trailing on the figure that was getting closer. Luz squinted and realized that the color of silver belonged to someone they both knew. Amity urged the girl to get out of the car as she did so, just in time for Skara to tackle her into a hug.

“Amity! I was just thinking that you forgot how to get here!” She said so cheerfully.

After the rugby match they had a while ago, Skara started warming up to her and the idea of Amity spending more time away from them for the sake of spending time with Luz. Amity thought it was a double win, really; she was finally out of the toxicity brought by her group and Luz made them distance themselves which lessened the stress on Amity’s shoulders.

The said girl stood on the other side of the car, arms crossed and watching them with an unreadable expression. Her demeanor spoke how distrustful she still was, though. Luz eyed the other rugby player, lips frowning. Amity shook her head, giving her a warning look.

“Skara and her family allowed us to stick around here a bit. We’re getting this place all to ourselves-” Amit explained, startled at the snort Skara let out, interrupting her. She focused on her, brows raised and gesturing her to speak up. Skara rubbed the nape of her neck before grinning back sheepishly, glancing at Luz before turning back to her and coughing.

“Yes, wouldn’t you guys like that?”

It was like the world stopped at that short discontinuity.

The grin on her face was replaced by a smug look.

For a second, Amity was confused until Luz started snickering. Her ears turned red and she cussed at them when the implication of that teasing question finally got to her. It took another few minutes before Skara calmed down. Luz, however, still had a lopsided smile on her face, winking when Amity stuck her tongue out at her.

“Easy there, Ames. You wouldn’t want to make signs in front of your friend, do you?” She said dryly.

Amity groaned when Skara burst out into another fit of laughter, hands clutching her stomach and tears forming in the corner of her eyes. Amity stared at them like they were both insane and they probably were, and she lost count of how long they have been standing there for, but she had had enough. She marched over to her person, grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to the entrance.

Behind her, Skara hollered, “There are cameras everywhere except the restroom, so it’ll be safe for you! It’s really clean-”

“Oh my God, shut up! Go away!” Amity shouted back, face hot and heart hammering against her chest. She muttered curses to herself, almost regretting the fact that she asked Skara instead of her father, where she could have avoided the embarrassment from the teasing that Luz was joining in.

“Amity,” Luz called out, still following behind, grasping her hand as tight as Amity did with hers. They stopped in the middle of the wide-spaced arcade, just in front of the fighting games Amity did not know the name of. Claw machines were lined up in the far side of the room, the ball games placed in a separate room from their right. There was an assortment of things that Amity never got the chance to even touch as she grew up, so she was mildly uncomfortable at the strange sight.

“Yes?” She answered angrily, even though she was not actually mad.

Luz surveyed the place with evident awe in her brown eyes, thumb rubbing against the back of Amity’s hand. Despite not being dressed in the colors of the retro-like gaming center, Luz seemed to fit in quite well.

Luz let go of Amity’s hand, but immediately latched onto her wrist, before bringing it up to her lips and gently nipping the edge of her palm. Amity blinked at the newfound feeling, even though at the same time the action seemed to be have as much affection as a cheek kiss held.

“What are you doing?”

“Showing you that I can bite!” Luz growled lowly, hilariously trying to look intimidating. Amity scoffed before pulling her hand back to her chest. The taller girl pouted in response which only earned her an eyeroll.

“That’s hardly a bite.”

“Seriously, Blight? No reaction? Not even any tension? You foil my plan,” Luz complained as she wrapped her hand around Amity’s shouldered, tugging her closer. Amity deliberately stepped on her sneakers and innocently looked up at the girl who tightened her hold.

“Whatever do you mean, Noceda?” Her voice was tinted with fake sweetness.

“I’m gonna choke you.”

“Try me!” Amity huffed and struggled to untangle herself from her person who clicked her tongue and shouted, Challenge accepted! Amity squealed when she felt herself being lifted and she kicked and flailed, both arms prying away the darker ones. They wrestled for dominance, screaming against each other, and momentarily forgetting that they were in an untouched arcade; but to Amity’s opinion, this was much more fun.

“Um, guys? I honestly wouldn’t mind if you started choking each other in the restroom, but at least play the games first-” The speaker hung up in the corner announced, voice booming throughout the almost empty place.

“SKARA, GET OUT!” Amity screamed just as Luz half-dragged, half-carried her to the shooting games before she goes to the room her friend had secluded herself in.

_

            Amity won a large, pink bunny and Luz had not.

            She called him Otabin, triumphantly shoving it in front of Luz’s face. Not long before they got there, they started a competition of who can win more tickets and plushies from the claw game and even though it was Amity’s first time, it took her only three tries before she got the hang of it, openly observing Luz’s secrets that she boasted about.

After all, the best kept secrets are the ones you never tell.

They both have an equal amount of plushies on their side and Otabin became the deciding toy. Luz whined and stomped her foot like a child and Amity reveled in her defeat. They soon stopped little scuffle and before they commit more libelous statements, they collected their prizes, placing them in a bag Amity grabbed from the bag hanger near entrance.

“You know, if you give me Otabin, you’d have a bigger space for more plushies…” Luz faltered, eyes trailed on Amity hopefully. Amity smirked, shaking her head. She nuzzled Otabin, preventing herself from squealing loudly at the softness of its pink fur.

“Luz, that might work on some kid in a birthday party-”

“I only bribed the kid one time!”

“-Still a child! Either way, it won’t work on me, dumbass.”

“Why can’t we take turn in having him? And damn it, Amity, you’re the jock between us, why can’t you hold more?” They shuffled towards the entrance, bags carried by Luz. There were two each hanging on both shoulders, contrasting from two Amity held in one hand and Otabin in the other.

“Noceda, if I let go of Otabin for even just a second, you will surely drop everything else and take him from me!” If possible, Amity hugged the plushie tighter. She continued, “And really? What are we, a divorced couple?”

“Nah, we don’t have the papers,” Luz answered without any hesitation. She purposely bumped into Amity on the way out, the latter returning the favor. They did this a couple of times until they reached the car, placing the bags in the backseat along with the unused jacket. When Luz opened the front door, she slumped against Amity’s perfectly clean seat. She removed her beanie and used it as a fan just as sweat trickled down her exhausted face.

Amity wrinkled her nose.

“I swear if you don’t get rid of that, you’re going to get head lice.”

She was expecting Luz to retaliate, instead the girl nodded and made a thinking gesture with her hand under her chin. Her eyes darted from the red beanie to her head, assuming she could see through her bangs. Amity noticed that she needed a haircut if she wanted to still see in front of her.

“Maybe you’re right. But until I can afford one to replace this worn out, sentimental piece of clothing, you just have to get used to it. Like, really, Ames. You still can’t get used to it even after years?”

“You didn’t wear that back then and gods yes, if it’s been years, it absolutely needs to be replaced!” Amity pointed out, turning the key, the engine roaring back to life. Luz batted her eyelashes as if she was the prettiest girl in the world.

Ha! She must beat us for that.

Since when we’re we competitors? Amity scowled at her consciousness.

Querida, It’s hard to find something fitting for my head. It has to feel right, you know?” She nudged Amity’s side. It would have been endearing if it was not for the sudden churn in the pits of her stomach, which kept her from replying.

“So? Where we headed now?”

Luz turned back to see the silhouette of the arcade until it became only a dot in the distance, covered by the fog of the forest, completely hiding it from people.

“Dinner.” Amity answered curtly, the anxiety she had experienced that morning coming back in full force.

_

Luz seemed to have a sinking suspicion as to where they were headed when the fog cleared and soon they were back in city streets, passing by familiar landmarks.

“I’m surprised you’re not sick of the food yet.”

“Eda knows how to reel in customers and make them stay.” Amity replied, parallel parking in front of the Owl House café. Luz gazed at the diner in deep thought as Amity unbuckled and opened the car door. She inhaled a sharp breath, rubbing her hands together, evidently perturbed.

She hoped Luz liked the surprise.

“You threw me a party?” Luz guessed when she realized that there were no customers in sight even though it was just early into the evening.

Well, not exactly. Amity went there last night and rented the whole café for this evening, which Eda was glad to have done so as Amity had paid for it. She might or might not have used a lot of her savings to compensate for the profits Eda might have lost today. It was not as if her parents were going to see where she spends her allowance anyway.

The inside of the Owl House was, simply say, shining, shimmering and splendid. The candles that were used for face display were all lit, and unlike how it was littered around the room in the past, they almost formed a heart.

Luz stared in awe at the fairy lights that Edric and Emira hung up that afternoon, giving the café a softer glow. If the candles’ fire were fierce and sharp, the lights were dimmer and calmer to the eyes.

Now that it was empty, Amity noticed the polished wooden floors, the weird posters that depicted Eda and King as some kind of rulers (or criminals, Amity had an inkling it was the latter) in one wall corner, and her siblings kept the drapes that hung from above where a large painted owl shone. The eatery was somehow cleaner and wider than usual. The junks Eda deemed was great for display was out of sight, Amity attributing the action to Jerbo and Viney, because her brother and sister would rather play with them rather than put them away.

Smoke was coming out of the next room, accompanied by a loud voice. A small window showed Eda rummaging around the kitchen, with King sleeping on a pillow in one corner. A bluish color covered some of the counters, and it might be because Amity had overly mentioned to make all the food blue.

Eda just stared at her like she was crazy.

Most of the tables were cleared out, leaving only one in the middle of the large room, covered with a red tablecloth and a scented candle in the middle. Hesitantly, Amity took Luz’s hand and led her to one of the seats, where Luz was happy to follow. The pigment of her skin was turning warm, making her pale skin feel like on fire just as they sat down across from each other where Luz quickly intertwined their fingers over the table like it was the most natural thing to do.

“What’s all this for?”

Cheerleader played softly in the background and Amity once again recalled how terrible she was at explaining grand gestures. She was slightly reminded of how fitting the song was for the girl she was with. Luz laughed to herself when she heard the song, probably thinking of the same thing. Thankfully, Eda came out at that moment, which stopped them from spiraling into an unneeded bickering. She rolled out trays of blue food that Amity grimaced at. She was still against food coloring, and maybe Eda was right when she thought Amity was crazy.

Luz though, lit up at the sight of the owner, who set the food down on their table.

Eda ran her hand through her hair, eyeing the green-haired girl who shrunk under her gaze. Amity hoped she would not be saying anything tantalizing her in front of the Dominican.

“Look, kid. Little Blight came here even before I was awake, just so she could ask me specifically to make blue food,” This prompted Amity to put up a brave face when all eyes turned to stare at her. Even King was wagging his tail on her left, staring up at her in wonder.

“She was also very deliberate in choosing what songs to play-like really? Cheerleader?-so can you make this worth my while since I had to close today because of her? She spared no expense, trust me.” With that, she strutted back inside the kitchen, complaining about how much she needed the nap. King barked and Amity swore the dog was saying, ‘Me too!’ before he ran to the back, trailing after the woman.

Amity swallowed at the agonizing silence that followed. The sound of brass filled the air as soon as Eda left them alone and not a word left Luz’s lips since then. She internally debated with herself, terrified that Luz may not have liked the prospect of Amity using her family’s money to this extent.

“You did this for me?”

Amity’s ears perked up at the soft tone. Luz appeared to be enjoying herself, unable to wipe the smile off her face. The prestige girl gulping as she shied away from the eyes that seemed to bore into her soul. She nodded and looked back down.

“I-uh…Happy anniversary?” She squeaked out, reprimanding herself for such uncertainty. Just earlier today, she was full of confidence and a taunting attitude; now it was drained out as she faced a pensive Luz.

What if it was too much? What if Luz laughs at her face? What if she did not like any of these things? What if it was too cheesy and it was not her style? It does not matter which one, it would all make her feel absolutely awful.

But Luz discontinued her thoughts when she beamed so brightly, that Amity felt blindsided.

“¿Quién hubiera pensado que mi novia era tan dulce?!” She exclaimed to herself but Amity only caught the words, “my girlfriend” before she dug in the food. With a mouthful of something that resembled chicken wings, she winked at Amity and raised her hands to finger gun. Amity blinked, the exasperation she felt against herself dissipating in the presence of Luz’s silly antics.

“You even remembered the blue food!”

Amity should have been disgusted how Luz was speaking with her mouth full, but the sight of the girl being so full of joy was just so infectious that it made her smile return.

            How could she ever forget?

            Every time they went out to get some food to eat, the first question that comes out of her mouth was, ‘Do you have blue food?’ much to the restaurants’ puzzlement. They eventually came back to the Owl House because Eda had no problem making her food blue.

Luz continued to ask her questions, about the decorations and if that was all Amity was up to the whole weekend, which she humbly declined, although she did mention that the plans and charts were hers after bringing up how her siblings were the ones to be thanked, for executing it flawlessly. Luz begged to differ, saying that none of it could have been brought to life if she did not make a mental image of what she wanted, which turned into another argument about how Amity would have been good at decorating. Luz counted the things Amity had done that she herself could barely recall.

“Well, you have good fashion sense,” Luz offered, swallowing a chunk of blue brownie.

“That makes one of us,” Amity grinned, making Luz throw a piece of brown plastic at her.

Speaking about fashion…

“I have one more thing to give you, actually…” Amity faltered, agitation coming back in full force. Luz immediately stopped, mid-swallowing before she gestured for the former to go on, eyes twinkling in excitement. The sight was so endearing, Amity could not help but break into a chuckle.

She can be so stupid.

She crouched down from her seat and pulled out the box she had Viney hide under the table earlier that day, inspecting it to see if it was still intact. She raised her head to see the other girl smiling cheekily at her, like a ten-year old child on Christmas. She reached out to grab the box, hands closing and opening in a, ’Give me, Give me! Gesture. Amity handed it over reluctantly before going back to her seat, Luz shouting out, ‘Dios mío!’ as she unwrapped it quickly as she got it in her possession.

Amity wanted to protest and have her open it when she arrived home, but she was too late as Luz had gasped and pulled out a purple beanie. There were stars in her eyes as she did so, startling the shorter girl when she took off her own infuriating beanie and replacing it with the gift. It was a perfect fit, not too big and not too short that it could fall off or be unable to hide the chaotic strands of brown hair that fell to the front of Luz’s face.

Amity did not have a hard time deciding what to give the girl. As soon as Emira asked her about gift-giving, Amity had no doubt, wanted to replace the worn-out beanie Luz had been wearing since Junior year. When she brought it up earlier and Luz was thinking of replacing it, she was simultaneously relieved and worried. Relieved because that means Luz might like her gift, and worried because Luz might not like the fit and color.

She was not worried about the price; more on the quality so it could survive if ever Luz decided to take a dive into hot lava or something. But now that she mentioned it, her sheltered life did not exactly give her a wide choice of locations to shop in. Emira drove her to one of the most prestigious malls known to the aristocrats in the area, assuring Amity that Luz was worth it. Amity agreed with her, but what troubled the girl was that if those prestigious clothing shops sold beanies.

Luz ran her fingers through the fabric as if she was trying to guess how much Amity spent on it. It was a good thing Amity tore off the price tag and threw away the bag while her siblings dressed up the café. She repeated the action twice or thrice, Amity lost count but she was staring long enough to purse her lips and clench her fists in anticipation.

“I love this!” Luz chirped and Amity ignored the way her heart skipped a beat.

“You-You do?” Amity asked, still unsure. What if she was just saying that to appease her? What if-

“Ami, I haven’t received much from you, but I know you put effort in everything you do. Why do you think you’re top student? You work harder than anyone else. Heck, you don’t even pull your punches!”

Luz tucked the stray hairs back under her beanie before reaching over the table and placing the hideous red one on Amity’s head.

 “There, now we have a couple thing!”

These were the times Amity just wished the hat was made of magic and that it would swallow her alive. At this point it was as if it had just possessed her as she went just as red its color.

Luz patted the beanie before she stood up from her seat and in the next second, Amity was lifted in the air for the second time that day and was spun around. She was mindful of the large presence of the beanie stuck stubbornly on her head, consciously placing one hand on it to keep it from flying off. Not long after, Luz loosened her hold on her waist, letting her down enough to just reach out and swiftly peck the girl on both cheeks. Amity’s legs turned into jelly when she found herself back on the ground.

Oh, geez.

Luz did not stop, both hands pressed against Amity’s reddened cheeks and peppered her face with more kisses which elicited embarrassing sounds from the heiress as she tried to push the taller girl away. She felt one on her brow, on her nose, and her ears could not possibly have heated more than it already has. She felt like a walking, ticking, time bomb.

In the past few months, Luz initiated many of the physical contacts they have had, but without the warning, Amity would always get surprised and stiff whenever Luz would pull her close and wrap her in a hug, like how she was doing now. Her grip was so firm to the point Amity wondered if Luz was planning to let go eventually. In the end, she hugged her back, tracing the rough patterns she found on Luz’s jacket, hearing her soft breathing near her ear.

“Now your beanie matches the purple stripes on your shirt,” Amity mumbled, hoping her voice did not tickle Luz’s ears. The latter snickered and tightened her hold. They stood there longer than intended and soon Amity realized a full song finished when the music introduced a new, slow beat.

Thereafter, they found themselves slow dancing to Mess by Noah Kahan, Luz playfully making her spin around before holding her back closely.

“Spin, spin, spin!” She chanted and even though she wanted to press how a slow dance does not include chanting as if they were about to drink, Amity could give her this one night just because it was their supposed anniversary and she had not witnessed Luz smiling as much as she did now.

Amity made a mental note of thanking the twins and their friends later, for now, she buried her face in Luz’s chest partly exhausted and partly because her face was flushed, becoming all too familiar with the scent of fresh pinecones. Luz hummed along the lyrics, hand going through Amity’s messy locks as the latter huffed her approval.

It's not what I had hoped

Now I find comfort in the cold.

When Amity found herself wishing the night could have gone on forever, she dreaded the fact when it hit her like a truck. The times she felt sick whenever Luz would bring her stuff, the butterflies in her stomach when Luz would do something so stupid, and the way her heart stung when she realized Luz was just faking all of it.

Afterwards, she looked up the lyrics to the ‘Psycho’ song Luz played in the car that morning as soon as they went home. She thought it was quite fitting and wondered if Luz put it up intentionally. Because if she did not, then it just heightened Amity’s dreadful feelings about her actualizations-

Amity always considered herself as wise; wiser than her siblings in making decisions and getting the favorable side of the deals she makes with people, which was also why her parents wanted her to take over despite being the youngest. Plus, this time no one else can be blamed except for the one who made the deal in the first place.

She was certain that she was at a disadvantage. Amity was absolutely doomed. 

In simpler terms, she was fucked. 

Chapter Text

6

Just when Amity thought she was out of the closet, nobody told her that she would find herself back in there soon. Ha. Never in her life would she have expected this.

To start off, the space was cramped, and she could barely stand without hitting her head. Her legs were strained from slightly bending forward and for some strange reason, this activity felt longer than it was supposed to be. One of her hands reached out to grab something, only to find nothing else but rough walls to keep herself steady. That is to say, if she removed the other part of the equation, which was her companion, within this compartment.

She tried not to panic, she really did, but every time she shifted, she would accidentally elbow the other person in the dark, which heightened her worries.. She held her breath and tried to step back with the slightest movements possible, but she raised her head too quickly and hit the person’s chin. A grunt echoed around them and Amity felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist, which pulled her forward until she found her head nestled in her partner’s chest.

“Amity, stay still.”

She was silently thankful that the two of them were basically blinded by the dark, because her face turned beet red and the beating of her heart sped up. She was slightly ashamed because something she recognized all too well bubbled in the pits of her stomach, accompanied by a giddy feeling that blossomed in her chest, which she had learned to welcome even though another part of her was afraid that the other person could hear how her heart stuttered in her chest.

Why in the world did she agree to do this with Luz Noceda?

Luz turned her around gently, so that Amity’s back was pressed firmly against the former’s front. Her head spun, unable to form any coherent thought, which only made it clear to her that Luz was something poisonous; because she always made it harder to think. Amity sent a silent prayer to the sky, thankful that they were not in any class together, lest her grades plummet to the ground.

Luz’s hands hovered near Amity’s sides and by the gods, every brush of her fingers-every contact it made with her skin, prompted an electrifying feeling to course through from her head down to her toes. It was tingly and Amity swore she saw stars.

Which shouldn’t be possible because we’re in a locked closet.

“Work with me now,” Luz breathed in her ear and tugged at her.

Slowly, Luz slid down to a more comfortable position and Amity relented, her legs giving out, as she gingerly followed the motion. She froze in place when she realized that the position, she was in was something akin to being cuddled and certainly, there could never have been anything else more embarrassing than this.

Amity’s evening was not supposed to start like this.

The fourth month was ending, and for the past few weeks, she had had sleepless nights because she chose that to be the exact time to debate with herself about feelings and emotions. When she came to the realization that she might have had a crush on her fake girlfriend, she decided to test the hypothesis in the days that followed. Although, to be honest (not), she was rooting for the large possibility that she has not fallen.

After all, what was left of her if she fell of her well-guarded throne?

Err-

Not so well-guarded after all.

Amity denied it to the last detail, even though she was sure that a heart monitor could tell her that the stupid organ in her chest has been beating rapidly every time that Luz came close or winked at her, even blowing a kiss a few times. Of course, to other people it would be a natural event, seeing the Blight red in the face whenever her person would show some sort of affection in public space.

On the one hand, Luz started to think that she was always mad, bringing up how Edric mentioned before during their Sophomore year that Amity being flushed, should immediately be correlated to anger. Unfortunately for her, she was in no position to confirm or deny it because she was sure the teasing would heighten if ever Luz figured out that she was embarrassed, or just plain over-the-moon happy at what has been happening.

Scratch that.

If Luz ever found out, Amity would never hear the end of it; the taller girl might even laugh in her face. Teasing or laughing, both would feel like a searing arrow shot through the heart: Excruciatingly painful.

“Willow’s throwing a small party today, you’re coming with.”

The invitation came when both were sitting on the bleachers, eyes trailed upon the rugby players that were practicing in the fields. Amity bought cookies from a nearby bakery earlier, tossing an extra bag to her partner and claimed that it was a buy one, take one day.

Luz seemed to believe her.

“Of course, I am, even if it’s weird that she’s throwing one on a Tuesday,” Amity replied dryly, picking up what seemed to be a raisin cookie.

In the corner of her eye, she observed the way Luz’s face scrunched up at the taste of raisins. When she teased her earlier about the food not being blue, Amity swatted her hand away and remarked how Luz was going to need trips to the hospital if she continued eating the unhealthy food coloring.

            “You’ll take me there, of course,” Luz replied cheekily.

Amity rolled her eyes and puffed her cheeks, going back to stuffing her face with the cookies as if it were the best thing she has eaten in the whole world. She ignored the way Luz took off the purple beanie and inspected it thoroughly; when she deemed it clean enough, she placed it in between them and patted it.

The beanie was getting more attention than her again. But since it did not look like a fire hazard misplaced on a brunette, unlike the red one Amity threw (carefully placed on a stand) in her closet, she despised it less.

“Can’t get this dirty or you’re gonna punch me in the face,” Luz shrugged before shoving her hand in the pastry bag.

Yes. I would definitely do that.

“Then I’ll pick you up at the manor?” Luz glanced at her, before she took out another cookie-chocoloate-and bit in it.

Amity’s heart fluttered in her chest and she reprimanded herself for her stupid body urges. She swallowed the lump in her throat and nodded in response, terrified that her voice might sound small if she used it.

Ever since the anniversary gift she prepped for her person, Amity had become paranoid. Strong feelings surfaced in her mind, which enveloped her whole body in something she simultaneously loved and hated, and it threatened to overtake her, where she would have to give in soon. Of course, she also considered the possibility that she was just confusing these feelings with something else, or maybe it could have been ‘dislike’ even.

The puzzlement made her angry with herself, not knowing if it was because this was such a stupid situation she placed herself in, or because she will never admit the obvious out loud. Either one would lead to several problems and she was not ready for all of that.

Though, the anger disappeared as soon as she thought back on the past few months. It turned into a feeling that made her giddy and lovestruck, where butterflies invaded her stomach and had her accidentally stab the pie the chefs served at the table the other night, because she thought of cooking for the other girl, so randomly, that her parents stared at her like she was crazy.

Amity internally groaned at the knowledge that she was not well-versed in this kind of thing; when the plan first came to her, she never thought of the consequences she was going to go through. After all, she was supposed to be the receiver of a favorable deal. Unfortunately, when one entered a deal, it would have been understood that they are also prepared to take the consequences of their actions, both good and bad.

It then became a nightly routine for her to drag her feet up to her room, where she buried her face in the comforts of her covers before she started screaming into her pillows, which would be the only ones who will know of her dilemma. This progressively turned into something that depressed her-

Because she began to openly cling onto Luz’s arm as they walked through the halls, glaring at nothing in particular, or just everyone in range. Amity began to be very aware of the stares she stopped bothering with months prior. She cringed at the memory, betting that the Amity from four months ago would have been giving her a disgusted look right about now. She has accepted that she liked-loved-it when Luz was physically close, physically giving her attention and it made her uneasy when the day ends, and she is left with nothing else but loneliness.

This is just temporary.

I should stop this now that I know.

Being conscious of the turmoil inside of her solidified her decision of preventing it from escalating further. For the thought of getting hurt, of being shattered by these new things, and many more that were not originally the prospects of the deal, terrified the crap out of her.

How could she have made a deal that could damage the parties emotionally?

Or maybe Amity was having high hopes because the only one crashing is her.

Wow, you’re becoming more of an idiot every time, Her mind started out dryly and Amity could imagine the mental image of conscious Amity shaking her head at her.

Shush. You can tell me off when you decide to grow balls, dumbass.

Ew-

You know what I meant!

She took longer showers, because she zoned out more than she has ever done in years and no amount of bathing could wash the feelings away. News flash, Amity cannot run away from her problems. She found out the hard way when she began to drown herself in hobbies in order to be deliberately distracted from the girl that quickly took over her mind, which only led to an  infuriating failure.

Everything backfired and she messed up things like food ingredients (because the colors reminded her of dark skin and bomber jackets), chemistry (because one could like the other and she could hate it, but they know how to compromise and fit together like a glove), or plain walking (because damn it all, everything blue just pushed themselves up to her face).

She had slipped on a banana for heavens’ sake.

So the thought of going out tonight appealed to her.

But here she was in her first house party, wrinkling her nose at the distasteful smell of alcohol in the air. How people could stand going around when every part of their surroundings reeked of disgusting things, Amity does not care to understand.

She avoided the kitchen, where an assortment of drinks and food were displayed, weary of the fact that some of them might be spiked because even if she was acquainted Willow, she bet not everyone at the party knew each other well enough to say that no one would do it.

Music blared out from the large speakers in the living room, as teenagers howled in drunken cheers. Irritated, Amity retreated to the sofa in corner, eyes darting around to see where Luz had gone. She interrupted the couple that made out on the couch and chased them off, relieved that there were no stains on furniture when she sat down. The unwelcoming aura that radiated from her drove away anyone else who wanted to take the couch and use it for any other purpose than what it was made for.

Earlier, when the party started, Luz parked the red hatchback a few blocks away from the house. While Amity purposely stopped bringing her own jackets, she made sure to wear one of her favorite pink sweater tonight, though that did not stop Luz from placing her jacket on Amity’s shoulder. She waved her hand and said it was a force of habit but Amity was never going to say no to that.  

After she did that, Luz immediately laced their fingers together, which comforted the heiress from the nervous jitters that came from a number of reasons Amity delved into more than she could count. They barely got to the entrance when Luz pecked her on the cheek before drunk strangers blocked them in the front yard of the bungalow, and they talked loudly, directing the conversation to her person because they seemed to know Luz. One of them even shuffled forward and ruffled her head.

The action offended Amity because they were drunk, and they were getting their grimy hands all over the perfect beanie that Amity had gotten her person. Luz shrugged their hands off but laughed in kind with them, and before Amity knew it, they extracted the former from her hold and dragged her away. When it finally processed in her mind that she was left alone and the protest in her throat died, she let out a frustrated growl.

Amity already regretted her life choices. Way to add another to the list.

“I’m guessing you’re not having fun,” Willow plopped down on the couch beside her, eyebrows raised. Her pixie cut stuck out in different directions, but Amity ignored the urge to ask her about it. She sighed and shook her head, a shadow falling over her features.

“No, I want to go home,” Amity deadpanned.

It was normal for people around her to back off when they spot an icy glare pointed at them. But the combination of overthinking for the past few days, coupled with the pangs that she felt inside, made her mood drop and she did not even have half the energy to turn the room cold.

She could just walk home; sort out her thoughts and even have an unimaginable time alone. Amity was not obligated to wait for Luz after all, though she duly regretted not using her car for this one event. But when she thought over it again, Amity did not want to be left alone again with nothing but the nagging in her mind as company.

Willow eyed her from the sidelines. She looked like she wanted to say something, and Amity would let her because she would do almost anything to keep her ears sane and unfocused on the loud beating of the drums.

“Luz was looking for you,” Willow started carefully and deliberately as if she wanted to force Amity to reply to that specific statement. It seemed to be something she did often, if the green-haired girl were to judge the playful smirk that tugged on the corner of the other girl’s lips.

Amity bristled in response. To make it less obvious, she crossed her legs, golden eyes narrowed, a dangerous glint appearing in her pupils. She clicked her tongue as she fired back with an aggressive tone.

“Oh, really? thought she was having fun on her own.”

            Anger boiled inside of her, and Amity tried to remain calm, because despite wanting to stab Luz Noceda with a pencil, she did not want to cause a ruckus. If she saw red, then she might do something improper and break whatever fake relationship they already had.

The conversation was short and abrupt, but Amity would not have it any other way. She sighed, being rendered unapproachable by the irritation that threatened to explode within of her. She was supposed to feel better after what she heard, but it only reminded her of what transpired this evening: being left alone and forcedly having to roam around the house, pretending she was bored because that feeling was terrible.

Willow shot her a crooked smile; which Amity raised her brows at. It was as if a challenge was thrown at her, but she had no plans to humor the girl. So she redirected her attention to the juniors in front, who shoved each other clumsily as their legs wobbled in obvious drunkenness.

The knowing look registered a little later than intended in Amity’s brain, when she saw Luz amongst the crowd, walking around with a deep frown on her face. She looked sober and clean, which Amity preferred. She could easily tell the girl apart, for how long she has been associated with her. Luz walked like she was a lazy gangster, with dragged feet and back slouched slightly, hands stuffed in her pants’ pockets. The beanie on her head was lopsided, almost falling to show tangled brown strands of hair.

Amity could spot her from blocks away if she had to.

Suddenly, the music was jarring in the ears, and some idiot had the audacity to have turned it up to maximum volume. Amity resisted the urge to chuck a piece of broken glass at everyone in the premises and rather, considered the alternative of committing arson and excuse it for a rogue bonfire. Maybe she could pour oil on the irritating people and throw Luz in there before lighting it up. The idea appealed more than being stuck here without having fun. Maybe Willow would not mind.

She watched as Luz passed by a few people who greeted her innocently and Amity flinched, looking down, only to have realized that her nails dug in pale skin, the marks turning red quickly. She was undoubtedly about to hurl her lunch, ruminating about the sense of discomfort that squeezed her insides. She drank nothing since the party started hours ago, so it must have been because of the intoxicated smell that stuck to walls and floors of the house.

Maybe if she punched Luz in the face, she would feel better.

Or the guys from the entrance a few hours ago, that could work.

She could also put some scratches on the giggling girls that greeted her person earlier, preferably on their faces.

As Amity muttered some stuff that could have horrified other people, Willow chuckled from her side, a mischievous glint in her eyes. She nudged the girl, but Amity ignored the action, eyes focused blankly to the sight in front of her. This amused Willow, and Amity barely noticed how she leaned back on the couch, watching the scene unfold with piqued interest.

 

One of the girls Luz was speaking to reached out and offered her a shot glass, so insistently and she was too close that before she knew it, Amity was furious and already up and about on the couch, nearly marching over if not for the hand that grabbed her wrist.

“Keep watching, Amity,” Willow voiced out.

Her voice was steady and unyielding. The face she made warned Amity that she would regret anything that would happen if she joined the crowd about now, with cameras flashing left and right. She recalled the first time they were caught on camera, with how her parents were absolutely mad and threatened to get rid of the other girl.

Amity’s last name aggravated her the more she reflected on how heavy it weighed, and she pondered on it for a few seconds more, before decidedly, she sat down, a massive burden on her heart.

She observed as Luz shook her head, evidently annoyed at the forceful gesture of the drunk teenager. Amity sneered at the action of the other party, her eyebrow twitching and mind still formulating murderous plans as she gazed begrudgingly at the exchange. Luz sighed in defeat and took the glass, which raised the hostility Amity was about to unleash. Willow placed her arm in front, blocking Amity from standing and forced her to keep watching. With absolute resentment, Amity did, and after a beat, was glad she did so.

Luz shouted something in Spanish, which vaguely sounded something along the lines of, Take no for an answer, perra! before she raised the glass and threw it on the floor. It garnered attention from the others, but they only whooped in support for something they probably did not even know about. The action also elicited a pleasurable sound from Amity, accidentally, she told herself, hands clenched into fists as Luz headed off in the opposite direction from where Willow and Amity were.

A sense of relief filled the heiress and the adrenaline from earlier wore her down to the point that she was about to lay on the sofa and drift to sleep, until she thought against it (because how many people have sat down since the party started? Amity was meticulous in case she messed up her well-kept hair).

“See? No need to get possessive over your girl. Although, I’ll have to make her clean that up and pay for it. You wouldn’t mind, would you?” Willow noted and chuckled.

The gears in her head turned slowly as she took in Willow’s words, but when it clicked, Amity’s eyes widened in shock at the realization and she whipped her head to stare at the girl, her mouth falling agape. She sat stiffly, going over the words again and checked for signs on whether Willow was kidding or not, and even if she had a playful smirk on her face, Amity could tell she was quite serious about her earlier statement.

Seriously though, when can Amity catch a break from thinking?

If she denied it, the conversation would not end and might even spiral into an argument and she was not dumb enough to do that to herself, knowing that Willow would have sound points against her.

On the other hand, if she accepted it, Amity would have lost the internal battle she had been having with herself and with Luz for the past few days.

Or months.

She pursed her lips and facepalmed, lamenting the conclusion Willow revealed to her. If only she drank something, she could have passed it off on the alcohol, but she was clearly as analytical as she usually was. The loss of appetite, the fury that antagonized her whole being and concussion she thought of giving to the people earlier; there was no physical reason to explain how all those things wove into just one word and one logical explanation.

The deduction Willow had led Amity into peeved her and clawed at her throat and made her want to rip out something.

Ah.

She was jealous.

“Amity!”

Amity snapped out of her deliberation on whether she was going to commit serious physical injuries or attempted murder(s), thoughts going out of the window, when the familiar voice called her from the other side of the room. The green-haired girl blinked before she turned and saw Luz pushed past some of the drunk bastards, and shoved some with unneeded force, then it dawned on Amity slowly, that Luz was headed this way. Towards her.

Amity was not ready to face that person just when her insides twisted into messy knots.

“Well, now you don’t have to feel jealous, Blight.”

Willow grinned victoriously, before she got up and dusted herself off. She paused for a bit before pointing a finger upward. She coughed and said, “By the way, your siblings came by a while ago and now we’re going to play games upstairs. If you want a secluded space, you and Luz follow whenever.”

The fruitful results of Amity’s thesis on Luz Noceda and fake dating messed her up badly, and she preferred to avoid the girl tonight as much as possible. Panic rose inside of her along with fear and her lips quivered at the cogitation of rejection.

“Wait, hold on, I’m coming now-”

Apparently, fate was out to get her because just when she was about to bolt out and follow as soon as Willow left, a pair of hands grabbed her shoulders and sat her back down.

“Woah, are you leaving?” Luz panted, alarmed. She knelt in front of Amity, hands moving down to still Amity’s squirming legs. Amity was certain that Luz acted quickly as a stumbling block so she would not be able to escape.

The squirming startled Luz but she went still and held Amity down, even when the latter pummeled her shoulders.

“Look- Amity, listen- I tried to get away as soon as they dragged me to a playful fight in the backyard but then they mentioned that there was a prize-Ow! Hermosa, hear me out- I thought you might have liked it-Fuck, stop that- Ugh! You know what?” She waived her hands animatedly and glared through her lashes.

 “Never mind, I was an asshole, okay? Fine! I get where you’re coming from and I have no excuses. But I really am sorry I left you behind.”

Amity took in a sharp breath when Luz faltered on her last word, her brows furrowed exasperatedly, a frown etched on her lips. She breathed heavily, eyes half-lidded while her hands balled into fists, the knuckles turning white.

“Look…Look, it was a dick move on my part, I get it, but I promise you that the prize was really good and I honestly did it because I thought you’d like it.”

Call her sensitive, but Amity deserved every apology there was to give after earlier. However, even though Luz stuttered out more apologies that people might call as spoiling, even though she pulled out something glittering and black from her chest pocket that Amity really should have listened to know about, she tuned out involuntarily. For some reason, her concentration diverted into examining what seemed to be a faint scar that cut through her person’s right eyebrow. Amity stared at it, searching in her mind for a specific fight, as her free hand reached out subconsciously until her thumb brushed against it.

Luz flinched in surprise and stopped talking immediately. Amity focused on how the girl sat frozen under her touch, lips in a thin line as she egged the green-haired girl on to say something but the shorter girl knew that if she looked down straight into a pool of brown, she was going to blow up. So instead, she pressed her thumb against the faded scar firmly, breathing out, “It’s okay.”

Because Amity had done a number of unspeakable things to Luz as well, and yet, is able to count the times she apologized.

She noticed how Luz’s ears twitched at the action and assumed she was relieved when her shoulders relaxed. The knots in Amity’s own back loosened up and she sighed before she pressed a finger nail harder into Luz’s face, which elicited an audible whine from her. There was a surge of confidence and calmness within her as she allowed her golden pupils to bore into brown eyes.

“I get to hit you first in our next fight,” Amity murmured.

Luz swallowed thickly and nodded slowly.

“I guess I deserve that…”

She softened her gaze and pulled away in exhaustion. She honestly did not believe anything could be worth leaving someone alone at an unfamiliar party during her first time. But this was Luz; the unimportant things could have been different for her and Amity understood that, with how every flower given to her has been given meaning, as Luz discussed it eagerly with her. The care portrayed in that alone told Amity a lot, just like now, where Luz examined her face, until she was sure that the former was not mad anymore.

“Okay, now that you’ve forgiven me, I have to show you this-”

Luz shimmied up to one knee and raised the small, ebony box up to Amity’s face. A nervous laugh slipped from her mouth as she opened it with a hand that trembled. She coughed loudly and intentionally brought attention to the two.

Amity should have never mentally defended her and said that every action was well thought of.

She was crazy.

Thoughtless.

Luz was absolutely thoughtless.

Just like Luz wanted, every drunk gaze in the nearby area were on them, and the sight of Luz on one knee gained such an uproar with how people gasped and cheered. Some of them dropped their drinks-which by the way, will make Willow livid- and clapped sloppily. Amity’s jaw dropped at the cheeky grin that appeared on Luz’s lips and it was as if the temperature in the room rose with how warm Amity’s cheeks grew.

“Amity Blight, Mi Amor,” Luz began, and raised the box which made some people squeal.

Crap, crap, crap! What is she going to do?!

What are we going to do?! Amity hissed.

STOP HER, STOP HER NOW OR FOREVER HOLD YOUR PEACE, DUMBASS!

Sometimes it paid well to listen to one’s conscience. When Luz was about to open the box, the whoops got louder, and Amity’s instincts kicked in. She threw herself forward and wrapped her arms around Luz’s neck and resisted the urge of strangling her. She buried her face in the crook of Luz’s neck, and bit on her lower lip hard, else she sunk her fangs on the other girl through her shirt.

This made Luz pause.

“What…are you doing?” She whispered, puzzled.

Yes, what are we doing?

You told me to do something!

We weren’t supposed to hug her! Just go with it!

So then, Amity loosened her hold and pulled back, her ears flushed red. Luz stared at her in concern before her hands found her waist and held her there hesitantly. The crowd grew silent, save for the music that blasted out Katy Perry’s music a decade ago. Amity just wanted to get out of there, so she grasped on the edges of Luz’s shirt and tugged on her, eyes pleading.

She caught a glimpse of some people trying to listen in behind Luz. A few of them hiccupped and leaned forward. Their faces were green as they stumbled and fell on the floor, but their ears perked up in anticipation. Amity almost rolled her eyes at the blatant disrespect of privacy, but was at the same time, amused at their tolerance. The display calmed her down slightly and she took in a deep breath before she gazed back into confused eyes. She raised her voice and relished in seeing how Luz’s eyes almost bulged out of their sockets and gawked like a fish.

“Want to go upstairs?”

_

            How many more things is Amity going to regret today?

            The shock on Luz’s face was priceless, that much Amity agreed with. Her face flushed at the implication, because for all Amity knew, according to Luz, was that the only thing upstairs were multiple empty rooms and they had to go to each one to find Willow and her siblings.

When people heard what she said, they howled and slapped Luz on the back. They giggled nonstop while Luz stayed frozen, still kneeling. It was not until Amity called her insistently and shoved off the hands on her back that she snapped out of it. Luz straightened her back and with a serious face, she tucked the black box back inside her pockets and placed one arm under Amity’s legs, and the other on her back.

She muttered hang tight and without any other warning, made a firm hold on her legs and stood, with Amity lifted off the floor and suddenly snugged against Luz’s chest. She pivoted and made a beeline towards the stairs as Amity squeaked and wrapped her arms around her person’s neck because of the speed she was going at.

Oh, God, what have I done?

They found Willow and the others when Luz kicked the door open to the supposedly unoccupied room in the corner of the second floor. The seniors (with the addition of Edric and Emira) were on the carpeted floor, and a bottle in the middle. Both parties were startled at the sight of each other, but Willow was the first one to recover as she snorted and patted her side which was most likely reserved for either of them.

Luz said nothing during all of this, which worried Amity. She was afraid that she deduced wrongly and the flush that dusted Luz’s cheeks and the edge of her ears were because she was high or drunk and only cleaned herself before she went to find the heiress. She dropped Amity on the ground and headed over to sit next to Edric who waved at her and spared no glance behind her. On her brother’s other side, sat Willow and then another empty space.

“We’re playing seven minutes in heaven,” Edric explained and wiggled his brows. He winked randomly around the circle and Amity scoffed at the palpable blushes on some of the strangers’ faces. Emira let out an audible laugh before she did the same as their brother, just as Amity settled down awkwardly next to Luz’s best friend.

Amity recalled how Luz spun the bottle on the wooden floor as tension filled the air. Everyone agreed that since there were newcomers, they were going to start a new game and have them play first.

Because it’ll fun! Emira exclaimed.

You just gotta hope it’s you, Mittens! Edric said.

Amity was not having fun.

She knew, and was very aware that she and Luz were not dating for real; so it should not have bothered her when her siblings implied that she might not be the one stuck with Luz in a closet for seven minutes. But she was also apprehensive because whoever the damn bottle chooses, will get to know Luz for several minutes.

But most of the time, these games led to a get-to-know each other through physical means.

There was a day back in their junior year, during the rainy month of June, where Luz came to school wearing the bisexual-colored flag. It was not out of the ordinary in Hexside per se, but Amity remembered how she pitied the poor person who would have had a crush on Luz and her stupid, red beanie.

Ah, well, good luck with competing with everybody! Is what she gleefully planned to tell the unfortunate person who would fall.

Oh, how she was being punished now. Such irony.

Amity trusted Luz; she believed her to have her back in random fights, she would sleep well in the passenger seat with Luz as a driver, and to support her when her parents were being jerks.

But she cannot force the other girl to not be attracted to anyone she wanted to. The heart wanted what it wanted, and if Luz decided that she liked the person she would be thrown in with, then Amity would bow her head and retreat. They had no actual label and Amity felt defeated by all the sound reasoning against her.

All she wanted was to not get hurt.

Her heart sunk as she watched the bottle gradually stop just as it passed by her, towards a blonde she did not know the name of. The stranger had a pink streak going through her hair, coupled with calm, blue eyes. Amity recognized her to be one of the Hexside cheerleaders, well-known for her skills and being the captain that won a lot of first place trophies.

Ah, well, look on the bright side! Our suffering doesn’t have to be extended to two more months! Her mind cheerfully plugged in.

Everyone released bated breaths just as the bottle was barely moving and was about to stop on the cheerleader, who had a smug look on her face. Amity paled and tried to look calm but her nervous went haywire. She struggled to accept defeat and prepared her fragile heart to give way.

But something unexpected happened then. Emira, who sat beside the blonde, reached out and pulled on Amity’s wild mane of green hair, then yanked her forward. Amity screamed at the sudden sting from her scalp and she stumbled, hands frantically looking for something to grasp.

When she recovered, she sat back up and clutched the front of Emira’s shirt. With a ferocious growl, she tugged her forward and cussed, “What the actual fuck?!”

Emira beamed at her, the same golden eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Amity wanted to ask her why, but only after she punched her sister’s face until she broke her nose. Emira gently wrapped her hands around the younger girl’s wrists and signaled the her look down. Amity had speculated that the twins always laid out plans and cheats in games, but this was something she could not figure out even with the conspicuous undertaking of said plan. She snapped her fingers which only confused Amity further, not until someone spoke up in the shocked silence.

“Alright, Amity and Luz in the closet!” Edric cheered from across the room.

It was then that Amity caught on to what her sister had done; she looked down and found herself in positioned front of the blonde, a startled look on both of their faces. Her pupils dilated as she turned back to check on the older teen, who winked at her.

“Wait, but that’s not fair!”

The blonde, which Amity did not have a care to learn the name of, was the first to recover from the circle and she protested angrily. Amity seriously wanted to kick her exposed shins, but she herself was mortified and did not know how to react with the teamwork the twins manifested. One thing was for sure though, Amity did not want to see what Luz looked like as she felt stares that were most likely zeroed on her back.

“The bottle chose fairly and it just so happened that Amity’s the winner here. Do you really want to be a wrench in an official relationship?” Willow chirped in, voice hardened like stone. She spun a pen in her hand and tried to look bored and uninterested in what happened, but the finality in her tone showed that she was in on the foolery the twins committed.

Before the cheerleader poured out more dumb words and made herself less dignified, Luz stood up from her seat and separated Amity from her sister. She had an unreadable look on her face but in a heartbeat, she hauled Amity up and dragged her to the closet in the other room.

_

In hindsight, it was clear that there were alternatives to what had transpired. But none of that mattered because she was in the closet, being cuddled by Luz Noceda, just as Willow wrapped a chain on the handles of the closet and padlocked it.

“Seven minutes!” She called out before her footsteps faded away to nothing.

She steadied her breathing when Luz nuzzled the side of her face and pressed their cheeks together while the arms on her waist hugged her tighter. The taller girl was in deep thought; Amity inferred it from the utter silence that was thick with an uncomfortable tension. Amity thought Luz may have been perturbed by the events that led to this.  Frankly, this worried the Blight because she was frightened that she crossed a line.

She wondered if their time was nearly up, if they had to pretend none of the very intimate things ever happened and she considered how Luz might not want to continue with this kind of treatment.

Will she distance herself?

What was Amity supposed to do?

She never dated anyone before, much less stayed with a person this long. She spent all her free time with Luz and always enjoyed whatever it was the girl wanted to do for that specific day. This was the first time that she was being given the silent treatment and it made her body shook, her eyes glistening with tears in the dark.

One of Luz’s dark hands left her waist, which only furthered her disappointment at herself. Luz shifted slightly and pulled out something, which was probably the box earlier, where Amity interrupted her. It was not as if she was hopeful that it was not some kind of big joke, and maybe she did not trust Luz as deep as she thought before, because she was scared the girl would embarrass her in front of a crowd.

But if it was actually serious-or at least, a fake display serious, then Amity would have said yes, whatever question Luz popped, and Amity hated herself for it.

            Luz placed the box gently inside Amity’s hands, where her darker ones engulfed it in a warm hold. She adjusted their position and rested her chin on Amity’s shoulders before she rubbed the back of the latter’s hands in the same comforting manner she always had.

“Open it, Ami,” Luz encouraged, before she placed a kiss on the slope of Amity’s jaw. She proceeded upward and left another kiss on the back of her ear which sent chills down the green-haired girl’s spine.

So with shaky fingers, she did as told and she squinted, trying to let her eyes adjust to the dark. When she opened it with a pop!, something pointed glinted in the dim room, and Amity marveled at the strange thing. She traced the shape and felt the rough leather under her fingers.

It was a bracelet, with spikes decorating it like diamonds.

Amity removed it from the box and inspected it closer. Her heart wanted to leap out of her chest with how much it hammered against her ribcage. It was well-made, that much she could tell; the spikes were not created to cause injuries and was mostly decorative. Without a word, Luz took it from her hands, albeit had a bit of difficulty with how she relied on the outline of Amity’s arms in order to find it.

She wrapped it around Amity’s left wrist with ease and clasped it. She muttered softly about beating up the guy in case it did not fit and was delighted when it perfectly hugged Amity’s wrist, seamlessly balanced and outright cool.

“Ah! It fits!” Luz chirped happily.

Amity’s eyes watered and ah, this made her happy. Luz was so elated as well, that she pulled her closer and ran her hand through green hair, making Amity purr at the touch. Luz evidently enjoyed that and repeated the gesture, before she settled on twirling the wavy curl at the very end.

“So you left me to fend for myself just for a bracelet?” Amity blurted out, utterly ridiculed.

Luz paused in her ministrations before she huffed against Amity’s neck, her breath tickling the nape.

“Well…now that you say it like that…But hey, this was like, free and had good quality! You can’t expect me to buy a branded armband from Versace!”

By now Amity was sure that Luz could give her a can of worms and she would accept it and make it a good fertilizer or something. The She wondered how many minutes have passed already, but the more Luz chattered, the greater the urge gnawed at Amity to turn around and face her.

So she did.

She untangled herself from Luz’s arms and flipped herself over. She came face-to-face with Luz and pressed her forehead against dark strands of hair, searching for brown eyes that peeked under long eyelashes. She watched as they widen and felt Luz snake her hands back around her waist, with feather-light touches. Their noses brushed against each other and Amity held her breath.

“Thank you,” Amity whispered.

She wanted to say more, become specific, where she enumerated everything Luz had done for her and with her for the past few months. Thank her for the boundaries she set up to protect the both of them from doing something they were going to regret after high school, for knowing how much things meant to Amity, how important things were to her.

So she poured it out on those two words and hoped that her eyes communicated enough that Luz should understand whatever she meant. Her hands that were on Luz’s shoulders earlier, wrapped themselves around the other girl’s neck. The closet was cramped and uncomfortable, but Amity adjusted into a sitting position and felt Luz’s legs closed in on both her sides.

Amity’s eyes flickered downward, to soft lips, which were pursed, and she swallowed nervously. Has it been five minutes? How many more minutes do they have? This activity felt like an eternity long when they stared at each other, a swirl of emotions pounding through Amity’s blood. Just a bit more, and their lips would be touching, and the thought made her itch.

So then she listened to it, because ah, she wanted to do it.

She desperately wanted to close the gap.

She observed Luz’s demeanor and how she pulled Amity closer, as if there was still space to pull her in. But no, there was no more room and their bodies were pressed against each other firmly, saved for their faces. There was an unreadable look in the dark girl’s eyes as Amity leaned in with excruciating slowness, giving Luz time to pull away.

And she realized Luz was going to let her.

Amity felt suffocated even though her lips were parted. She stopped a few centimeters away from Luz, and raised one of her hands to run through the chaotic cut of hair behind the delinquent’s ear, pushing it under the purple beanie and had it linger there.

“Luz,” She whispered again and Luz stiffened under her touch when she moved her hand from under the beanie and traced the girl’s jawline. Luz answered with barely audible, yeah?

She inhaled sharply and struggled to breathe. There was a longing inside of her, but if her restraints around it broke, Amity knew that it would take all the air within her so she would not be left passed out in a worn-out closet.

Her head was clearer than it ever was since their anniversary, and with all the terrible realizations today, along with the good ones, Amity was overcome with peace. She relished in the contact of their bodies and how she had probably always looked at Luz. It was as if she was some sort of unexplored galaxy and Amity trudged forward to determine if the person she had fought for years, was truly the sweetest person who showed Amity a picturesque meaning of what the statement ‘she meant the world’ meant.

But she avoided those three particular words that every other couple would say so casually and instead, settled for the feeling that Luz has given her multiple times. She translated those three words into something else; something that could more or less be similar to it.

Because Amity was not ready to say it only to never hear it back.

“I can’t breathe.”

Back when she was unconcerned of what Luz felt, she would have taken the kiss out of spite and left her to suffer a future where something she treasured dearly was stolen, which she could never get back. The animosity between them would have skyrocketed and Amity would have done something irreparable and be forced to live with the consequence of that one simple action that others were able to give so freely.

But now she cared too much that she would not dare break the boundary that brought them to four months later. So, she balled her hands into fists and released her hold, gently untangling herself from the arms that wrapped around her and she leaned back while Luz just watched.

The jock was once again thankful for the dark, for keeping Luz’s facial expressions hidden now that she sat on the other corner of the closet.  Amity cleared her throat and waved her hands around, conjuring up an excuse on the tip of her tongue.

“Lip pats.”

Amity had an inkling that seven minutes have already passed, and she wished it had because the silence that followed her sorry excuse was terrible and she swore she messed up badly this time. There was no way Luz could be stupid enough to believe that.

But she gave her too much credit.

Her eyes fluttered close where a void of darkness greeted her and was momentarily puzzled at the sound of shuffling and Luz’s long legs disappeared from where both her sides.

Soon, she felt a rough thumb on her lips, and she gasped on reflex which made Luz stop. She moved forward just like what her fake girlfriend did earlier. Their gazes locked fixedly against each other and Amity swore she heard a silent chuckle. The aura Luz emanated was awkward but light, as the top student judged from the way her thumb traced the crevice of her lips musingly.

Amity stopped herself from biting on her lower lip when Luz leaned back with a satisfied hum. The young Blight was about to release a sigh of relief as well, before Luz surged forward again, placing three of her fingers back on her lips. It did not linger and instead, she felt the dark fingers tapped against her lips thrice, robotically.

Ah.

“…I honestly don’t know why you want lip pats instead of head pats, but we’re way past the judging phase,” Luz worded carefully.

Great, Amity groaned. The moment to save face already passed and she just dug herself further into a pit in the aftermath. Luz gave her a few more pats that Amity forced herself to like (which was not that hard) before she brushed the back of her hand on one of her cheeks, which inclined her to lean into the touch. This close, she was able to see Luz fixing her beanie into place before she inched closer, on her knees and that must have been painful, but it was either Luz ignored it or her body was as dense as her head.

Whatever it was, it did not help to prepare Amity when she felt the same pair of lips she had been wanting to pat, on her forehead. As if it was a habit, Amity’s cold hands drifted to the front of Luz’s oversized shirt and caught the hem, clutching it tightly.

Something swelled within her and her eyes watered because she gave the simple kiss several meanings with how Luz took her time and pressed more on the on the corner of her eyebrows and the hollow of her cheeks.

One more.

There was a fiery fire that lit up in her heart that spurred her to say those words out loud. It was preposterous to think that Luz can read minds, but when she took a short break, with her tentative eyes observing the way Amity reached up to brush a stray hair from in front of her person’s face, she felt exposed. As if Luz knew every secret she kept hidden and the fear made her breath hitch.

“Can you breathe now?” Luz whispered softly, her voice low and laced with an understanding Amity did not want to comprehend.

No.

It would probably take a long time before she does.

“I still can’t breathe…” Amity chuckled sadly before she buried her face in her hands and inhaled.

Both of them stayed muted after that as Luz went back and rested her back against the other side of the closet, her arms crossed. Amity fiddled with the bracelet disappointedly, considering how the kisses probably meant three things.

I understand, but I can’t return your feelings.

I know, and I feel the same way.

I’m sorry.

When Willow opened the closet door, she claimed that they lost track of time and ended up leaving them in there for ten minutes, indubitably unaware of the rift that formed between the two. Luz offered to take her home way past midnight, which she had never done before.

She never asked permission.

So Amity declined and borrowed one of her siblings’ car and went home on her own, turning a blind eye to how Luz walked her out and stayed on the sidewalk, a crestfallen look on her face. She pretended not to have noticed herself to be downcast, how her heart seemed to only be held together by strings that fell apart.

As soon as she passed through the manor gates, her lips quivered, eyes blurred and moist. It did not even take her two steps out of the car before she cried, for the first time in years.

Today was the beginning of their fifth month.

 

 

 

PGCiR Fanarts Link:

https://twitter.com/bitsweetchoc/status/1349392758444752896

Chapter Text

7

Amity was sure that her parents were not completely terrible. They provided for her and her siblings, sure, they also set them up for life and despite how they have always reminded her, the youngest, to be the epitome of perfection she needed to reach, they were there when they needed to be.

That is to say, when the Blight family name was at stake.

The weeks after the party did not go too well for the teenage couple. They were much more awkward, with the sweet gestures turning reluctant and lukewarm, with golden eyes being unable to stare into confused brown ones and with nursed frustration, the fights followed.

They bickered back and forth, heated words on their tongues and it always ended with Amity stepping out of the cafeteria, Luz in tow. Willow and Gus decidedly did not interfere but were a bit surprised to have witnessed the dripping resentment from Amity’s hoarse voice. It was also quite obvious to the people around them that Amity had not been doing emotionally well, considering the fact that she was more aggressive and snarkier than usual.

It only doubled when Amity stopped waiting for Luz to come around the manor every morning before school. She avoided her out of the public’s eye but played her part as well as she could in school or when she had a feeling that she was being watched closely.

She hoped that Luz would understand how difficult it was to supposedly fake something that has already turned quite real to the heiress. The emotions were raw and new and if she were being honest, Amity was sure she would do something rash if given the chance.  

She was undeserving of that though, because after all, Amity only used her to keep her parents off her back.

Luz had her fun already. She saw the way Amity’s face flushed a dozen of times, she enjoyed playing her part as the supportive girlfriend, she even got her fair share of fights for enjoyment’s sake any time she wanted. Besides, she was the one who declared herself too busy to be in a relationship. If that was the case, then Amity will let her be; no more of taking her time away during the weekends, no more of her driving them around to places and no more of those fake smiles and fond looks she shot Amity. She was free to do whatever and Amity was going to learn how not to care about it.

So that was what it was going to be; no more of the needless private kisses or dates no one was going to see. No more of the handholding she sought when she was with Luz; she was going to have to get used to restraining herself from linking their arms or lacing their fingers together.

She should have preserved that for someone she actually liked.

Amity wanted to be selfish, she really did. But Luz had given her so much already that it would be unfair to her if Amity forced what she preferred, over what Luz actually desired. The heiress was a stickler for rules; So what kind of inheritor was she going to be if she could not even bother going by the ones she made for herself?

When she finally exploded, with a finger pointed to Luz’s chest and fangs bared as she snarled out things she did not mean, Luz stopped her by grabbing Amity’s reached out hand, before she raised her own to run her fingers through green locks until she held the back of Amity’s head. Luz shoved her into her chest, with an implication that the girl should shut up. Amity almost choked when Luz muttered comforting words even though she was oblivious as to what was going through the girl’s heart.

Afterwards, she made excuses not to face the girl, even going so far as to ask some of her classmates to tell the person waiting outside for her that she was busy, while she snuck out through the window. She did not want to yell at Luz anymore and frankly, Amity was tired of feeling and all she wanted to do was to crawl into a pile of blankets and sleep forever.

Heartbreak had never been so terrible.

“What is your problem?” Luz whispered.

The clock ticked away, and lunch was nearly coming to an end, when Luz dragged Amity through the hallways, towards the restroom and pinned her to the back of the door, hands slamming inches away from the shorter girl’s face.

Luz was furious, that much was certain. Her eyes glared down at the green-haired girl, brows furrowed deeply, as she loomed over her. Both of them knew she did not deserve the additional hostility her fake girlfriend displayed all week, but Amity could not help it. She did it to protect herself and Luz from something they would both regret. She looked into those helpless brown eyes and mustered up a blank look on her face even though her emotions were a liquidated mess. She pursed her lips and ducked under the girl’s dark arms and forced herself to move forward without answering.

She does not want to see her right now, even if all she wanted to do was to trace the contour of Luz’s face, place her hand under the beanie and let it go through soft, brown locks, and rest her forehead against hers, with breaths mingling together at such proximity. She just wanted to kiss her, hug her tightly as if she were afraid that if she did not, Luz would disappear. Amity just wanted to do all of those without being scared that the Latina did not feel the same way and end a relationship before it began.

She was not allowed to do any of that.

It was harder to put them into actions.

The only person stopping you is yourself, dummy.

Yeah, and that’s your fault too.

Before she went through the door, with her pale hand gripping the doorknob tightly, Luz called out from behind her, voice cracking in the process.

“Amity, did I do something wrong? Is it still because I left you back at the party?”

There was some sort of exasperation in there, but Amity stopped reading into what Luz meant, what her actions were supposed to tell her and how to respond. Though, it broke her heart when she heard the desperation in the other girl’s voice, as if Luz had been thinking about what Amity had been doing and it did not help that the heiress avoided her like a plague.

But she hated stressing people out; she despised asking for help and she most of all, was afraid to burden someone else with her problems.

“No, it’s just…” She faltered with her words, not knowing if she was to be blamed or if Luz would be satisfied with her answer. So, without further deliberation, she turned her head back slightly, eyes still averted so as not to see what Luz’s expression was at her words.

I can’t breathe. I just can’t breathe.

“Let’s just get these months over with. We’re almost done so you don’t have to waste more unnecessary efforts.”

She forced the words out of her mouth and felt sorry afterwards. She regretted saying them when Luz stiffened in the corner of her eyes. Her hands fell limply to her sides and it only made the hole in Amity’s heart bigger. But she trudged on, ignoring the pangs in her heart and how her eyes stung with tears. Amity pretended not to notice that Luz went the other way, with steps just as heavy.

Luz looked exhausted after the start of the second week. Amity believed that after she ditched her every morning, her fake girlfriend stopped driving to the manor and started heading to school without so much a thought. If Edric and Emira realized that there was something wrong, they were respectful enough not to pry although the looks of concern they shot Amity’s way irked the youngest.

She was anxious and doubtful, with how distant Luz seemed after the continuous show of affection at school. Her hope of reconciliation was shattered when she waited a few more minutes in front of the Blight manor only to find no red hatchback in sight. The twins offered her a ride to school without any jokes or pranks laced in their words, and so Amity accepted it with lowered pride and a broken heart.

For the next few days, she played with the armband given to her, deep in thought. As per agreement, they did not tell anyone about fake dating in case it would jeopardize their standing in public or it would somehow come to their parents’ attention. But that also meant that she could not talk to anyone about this and she was already full to the brim; she was worried that any second now, she was going to explode and spill out stuff that would haunt her for the rest of her days.

This is okay, Amity told herself.

She can do it if she tried.

Though Amity was more rational than that; she delved into things headfirst, not with her heart. Even if she told herself she could do it, that she could keep everything bottled up without it ever spilling, there were always bumps on the way, ready to throw her off. But still, trying was enough. It should have been enough.

If only they did not place the unnecessary effort in this fake relationship.

It was how they should have started and gone, anyway.

It did not help when on Monday, as she opened her locker, an envelope that contained pictures fell to her feet. Amity wished she never opened it, but curiosity got the better of her and led the Blight to discover images of Luz in different places.

But that was not the problem.

Her heart almost dropped dead in her chest, startled at what she saw that she almost crumpled the edge of the printed photos. Her person-no-Luz was with someone else. They were grinning from ear-to-ear and she had stars in her eyes. Her lips were quirked, and she looked like she was having so much fun. One showed her to be sitting inside the Owl House, making finger guns with her hands to a blonde Amity recognized to be the girl from the party.

Oh.

Luz never looked at her like that.

She stared at it for a few more moments before she calmly placed it back into the envelope and looked at it blankly in her hands. She resisted the urge to tear the photos apart in lieu of needed empirical evidence in case she went livid and did something terrible. She could excuse her actions as self-defense seeing as whoever sent this to her desired a provocation. Even though she knew that, her brain stopped functioning and Amity’s eyes glistened with unshed tears. She was glad that her back was faced to the students that bustled around, or else someone could tell something was wrong with how her shoulders shook to the point she nearly gasped for air.

The thought of Luz not being with her suddenly washed over her like ice cold water. It dawned on her that it was not okay. It just never occurred to her until recently that Luz could be with someone else and that terrified Amity.

Because she was unaware that it hurt so much that it was as if her lungs had cut off the air and she shook to the core at the realization.

“Amity.”

She bit on her lower lip hard and closed her eyes. With deep breaths, she calmed herself down and turned to see Luz who was watching her closely. The purple beanie sat neatly on her head, with strands of brown hair brushed to the side of her face. Her chocolate eyes were narrowed, accompanied by jutted lips and a stiff jaw. She seemed a bit surprise, and Amity wondered what she looked like right now; but it passed quickly, and a grimace took its place.

“We need to talk.”

She sounded gravely serious, but Amity found it hard to listen. Was this it? Were they going to break it off a month earlier? Was she going to have to cry in front of everyone and be saddened by the fact that Luz would not know that she would sob for real?

She let out a bitter laugh which made Luz pause. Amity should be happy; they were going to go back to their lives before she messed everything up. Amity was going to go back to her old clique and sit through conversations she hated; her parents were going to tell her that she made terrible decisions and proceed to rub the wounds in by sending more boastful, foolish suitors her way.

But Luz was going to be happy. Amity would not be able to hold her down anymore, she could go back to just chilling with Willow and Gus. Maybe even get herself a girlfriend or boyfriend-she could have anyone she ached for; people who were so much better than Amity Blight in aspects she knew she was weak in. The only downside was that she and Amity will not be able to fight anymore because who was she kidding-

The heiress would not have a face to show after all of this.

The background noise grew louder in Amity’s ears and her heart hammered in her chest. Blood pounded through her veins, so much it might tip over and Amity might have to make a trip to the hospital. Everything was so vivid and earsplitting that Amity could not take it anymore. She pushed herself forward, into Luz’s chest and grabbed her by the collar of her shirt, pulling her down. Amity inhaled sharply and glared through tears.

“Noceda, listen…” She started, voice barely above a whisper.

To others, it would seem like she was about to kiss her. It would be a normal sight, with a couple having made up after fighting for some particular reason. Luz looked as if she sensed that something was wrong and her hands started to wander towards Amity’s waist, as if to comfort her, but the warning that flashed through Amity’s golden eyes made her think against it. Instead, Luz slowly wrapped her fingers gently around Amity’s wrist, where the armband was in full display. Brown eyes flickered to it before she nodded, urging Amity to continue with her words.

As Amity struggled to speak, she examined Luz’s face with renowned vigor in order to make sure she had to say what was supposed to be said. She took in the sight of dark and smooth skin, long eyelashes that hid chocolate brown eyes which glinted with mischief and optimism, then there were her soft lips, formed into a thin line as she waited patiently and respectfully for what Amity was about to say. She inhaled and dropped her head low, forehead landing softly on Luz’s chest. She caught the familiar scent of cookie dough sweetness mixed with pine, as if Luz had just returned from the Owl House café and it made her tighten her grip around her fake girlfriend’s collar. Soon, Luz soothed her by rubbing circles on her wrist, which made the shorter girl sigh in contentment.

No. Luz was not the kind of person who would cheat. Even if technically it would not have been cheating, Amity knew for a fact, that after all these years, Luz Noceda was honest enough to tell her if she messed up or if she wanted to break off this engagement.

They stood there in silence, even as the bell threatened to ring any moment. Some of the students pushed past them, which made Amity’s hold on Luz’s shirt tighten as she tried to get a grip of the world around them and the situation they were in. She was not certain about when Luz wrapped her in a warm hug, or when she had pressed a kiss on the side of Amity’s face, but she relished in it and whimpered when Luz tightened her hold around her, with fingers tracing her back and hand holding her waist as close and firm as possible.

Amity did not want this to end.

But the more she prolonged it, the greater the pain would be, so she did her best to speak up.

“If you…If you find someone you like, you’re free to tell me to stop all of this. I don’t want to have the burden of being the stumbling block in case you want to be with them.”

She uttered those words in a purple-striped shirt, hoping that it was muffled enough so that Luz could not hear. The envelope she held earlier fell to the ground, forgotten as she pushed herself further inward and breathed in the scent, trying to memorize it so that she would not have to miss it when Luz leaves.

Amity was selfish. She wished that Luz did not hear it so that she could stay even if it was just for a little bit more. So that Amity could still call her her person.

Mi Amor,” Luz murmured breathlessly and left another kiss on Amity’s eyebrow, before she continued with a leveled voice and said, “That wasn’t the apology I was expecting but…”

She stepped back with a determined look on her face and a question on her lips. Her eyes trailed down until Amity realized that she was looking at the envelope she just had in her grip a while ago. Before she panicked and went to grab it, Luz got to it first and she tore it open immediately, as if she already knew the contents.

At this point, Amity would not have cared if the bell rang to signal the start of classes; she would not have cared if she were to be late. Her breath hitched and she was terrified of being said to have snooped around when it was none of her business. Not only that, but she never should have found out how Luz was already in love with someone.

Not while they were still together even if it was all just a false pretense.

At first, Luz stood there, with no evident reaction of being caught, on her face. Instead, she studied the photos with analytically sharp eyes and a deep frown. Amity felt a lump in her throat, and she swallowed nervously, breaths turning ragged. Then Luz turned to her with an unreadable expression, as she slipped the photos back inside the crumpled envelope, having no indication of giving it back.

Mi reina, do you trust me?”

Amity’s shoulders slumped as fear made its way up to her mind. Did she trust Luz? Yes, she did. She searched those brown eyes for a lie, or an honest statement, and Luz’s demeanor softened entirely. She bit her lower lip before she reached out to brush her hand against Amity’s cheek. She waited for an answer, something Amity was afraid to give, even as her eye fluttered close when Luz inched in to peck the bridge of her nose.

“Is this why you’ve been mad at me?”

No, but partly now, yes.

Light, feathery touches brushed against her jawline until it settled just below Amity’s chin, as Luz tilted her head to face her. Amity opened her eyes to stare at the girl with fondness she did not know she had.

Why had she been avoiding her all this week?

She could have just drowned in these touches that, although she felt were forbidden, was hers to have until after all of this is over. She took in the sight of Luz whose attention was only on her for now, and Amity knew that no one else was lurking in the other girl’s head. So with newfound bravery, she leaned in and laced her fingers in-between Luz’s free hand, while she grabbed the one under her chin and kissed the knuckles of the hand she loved to hold.

“Yes.” She breathed out, with fingers burning at the tips. She gazed into her person’s face, hoping that she conveyed the truth-the actual truth.

That she can’t breathe.

Before she could say more, Luz cupped her face, brushed a brown strand away from the front of her eyes and placed a kiss near the corner of her lips, which made the latter jerk back in surprise. But Luz did not linger long enough for Amity to process what just happened as she felt hot breath tickling her ear, when Luz leaned in just close enough to pass by her face, nuzzling it.

Eso es lo que quería escuchar mi amor,” She answered with a voluptuous voice that turned Amity’s ears red.

Well, shit.

There goes my heart.

Amity felt absolutely scandalized.

Before she could ask what those words meant, Luz walked away, just as quickly as she got there, each step lighter than it ever was since the past few days. Amity watched as her silhouette grew smaller until she was completely engulfed by the other students in sight, confused by how they went from fighting and clawing at each other’s throats, to leaving lingering kisses in front of the whole school to see.

Overwhelmed by a sudden calmness in her, Amity chose to trust the taller girl with whatever she was going to do, as she herself got a clearer picture of what she wanted, and who she was going to see after this.

When she walked away, with heart softer than before, she realized that Luz took off with the envelope filled with photo evidence.

_

Being away from Luz after that small, public scene they have caused felt like an eternity for the young Blight. Her car was hollow and empty, as she cleaned up every trace Luz left behind, like some of her wristbands and rings and kept them in a locked drawer located in a hidden section of her closet. Her days were also too long to bear that Amity spent her free time sleeping, just to avoid the continuous pangs in her chest.

It was as if she only rebuilt her heart for it to be torn down in the next moment.

But it was also nice, in a way-she was given the chance to examine things more thoroughly than when Luz always took up her time. She thought of quirky smiles and how her heart jumped at the small and playful hm Luz would let out whenever Amity demanded something. Amity did not mean to whine, but she did it quite often that now when she recalled all those times, she wanted to throw a punch at her person and then bury herself six feet under the ground.

Kid, are you sure you aren’t planning to burn my kitchen down?”

It did not even take three full days for Amity to register that she wanted to do something nice after the way she treated the stupid, dense girl with the beanie who sprayed some kind of artistic graffiti on Boscha’s locker yesterday. For fun. The jock was livid when she saw it and Amity understood that she might have played a part with how Luz had been committing more atrocities in school lately. How Principal Bump could afford not expelling her, Amity would not know, but he approached her earlier that week, with eyes narrowed and wrinkles deepening.

“Ms. Blight, while I am glad Ms. Noceda is trying out new things, please keep her troubles outside of school property.”

Amity resisted the urge to tell him that she would have joined her in committing those pranks as a principal in the act. She nodded in response and waved it off, suppressing the giddiness that came from being labeled as Luz Noceda’s girlfriend, to whom she would listen to. Joy bubbled in the pits of her stomach at that, but before she could relish in it, Boscha’s crass tongue snapped her out of her daze and brought her back to the reality of the situation.

“Fix your damn problem with your girlfriend or so help me, Blight, I will destroy her!” Boscha growled, exasperatedly while Skara and Amity only looked at her bemusedly. She pointed a finger at Amity’s chest and shot her a dirty look as she muttered curses that Amity found funny.

She glanced at her person, who had been staying away from her for the past few days. Luz messaged her that she had things to do but did not tell Amity exactly what they were, and instead, had left her on read for the whole weekend.

She was across the hallway, arms crossed, and eyebrows creased, teeth gritted and whole body unrelaxed. Her chaotic hair was unkempt under the lopsided beanie and the back of her shirt was not neatly tucked in like it used to be. It was not even ironed and the small crinkles in the purple tee perturbed Amity and made the hair on the back of her arms stand up. It was apparent for the whole school, that something has been going on and Amity herself who was involved, was not aware of what it was.

Luz must have felt how she was being watched, because she turned just in time to see Amity gazing at her. She blinked dazedly, before she quirked a forced smile and waved. There were heavy bags under her dark eyes, and it pained Amity to see how badly she seemed to be doing. Hesitantly, Amity waved back, with a frown. Luz was as pensive as she could be, because she was about to walk towards her when she received a call and the relief on her face was washed away and replaced with a dejected expression. She picked up immediately and her frown turned into an unpleasant scowl; this urged Amity to go up to her and take the phone, but before she could, Luz mouthed an apology and left in an angry fit.

Amity had an inkling that what happened had something to do with the photos of Luz and she was not certain if it had circulated around the area, but since she found nothing of the sorts, it must have been something else. A part of her brain told her that Luz must have been breaking it off with whoever it was, while the other part of her countered that Luz was not the kind of person who would do that while she was in a relationship, even if it was fake.

God, this was confusing.

Sure, everything still hurt, and was still fresh and nagging at the back of Amity’s mind; but she decided that if this was going to be over soon, then all she could do was make the most out of it. Luz told her to trust her so she was going to do that, and since she seemed to need some sort of support this time, Amity will bow and push her problems away to be the best girlfriend Luz would have.

Not that they were actually together and that she had any competition she knew of.

But supposedly, this should not have entailed her to linger in the kitchen, where she stared blankly at the disformed dough that was most likely over kneaded.

Sure, the dough was an issue, but it was not exactly the core of her problem-

It was why she was making it.

She shooed away the chefs earlier, who offered their help, but no, Amity just had to rely on Google more than people who studied the art of food-making. She thought she could do it, after all, she was impeccable in all other fields of study, so baking should have been a piece of cake (ha) for her.

So then why, again, was her cookies burnt in the oven?

Why was the oven letting out smoke?!

Amity forgot to turn it off, almost setting the kitchen on fire and setting the alarms off. She only remembered to turn the knob when she started smelling something like burnt rubber in the air.

This was way too different from her original plan.

Make cookies for Luz (and friends) to thank them for the lovely company she has had in all her life, apologize for being an asshole when her reasons were valid (but they did not know that so apologies it is) and getting kissed after, no big deal, after all that was not her goal. It was also not because Eda mentioned in passing that Amity’s person was obsessed with blue cookies, which could get her brownie points. Not that she aimed for that in particular.

Emira was fond of cooking so Amity could have asked her for help, but no, Amity found that she could not. Her siblings went missing after they talked about sleepovers with their friends. They did not even bother picking up their phones which pissed the youngest off.

See how they like it when mother and father picked up on what they have been doing. Amity thought smugly.

So then she changed strategies; Amity could call the chefs back in, but she did not really want to embarrass herself in front of them. She was not close to Willow and Gus enough to have them over; which leaves one person because Amity can only count the people she talks to (and the people who knows how to cook), on her fingers.

By now, Amity was pretty sure that Eda was about to throw her in an asylum. She waited for the café to close, before showing up to the front door when Eda was about to swing the door shut. The woman yelped at the sight of her, because Amity did not bother changing out of her nightgown, with an apron in front, hair disheveled and golden eyes half-lidded and evidently tired. Eda was a hair away from ordering King to have her bitten, Amity was sure of it.

Then she might actually turn into a chihuahua.

Thankfully Eda let her in when she opened the paper bag she had with her, showing the jarring sight of charred pieces of food that nearly resembled coals. The woman muttered a Dear God before she reluctantly agreed in letting the heiress inside.

“Please tell me you’re not giving this to someone,” Eda began just as she lifted a piece of a burnt cookie. She squinted at it, examining it closely and fell silent but it was indisputable that she was holding her crass tongue. For sure, the teenager shall be adding more strands of white on the restaurant owner’s wild hair after tonight.

“I was uh…making it for myself…” Amity lied, undoubtedly turning red when Eda let out a cross between a snort and a teasing laugh. She dropped the inedible pastry and clutched her stomach like she was holding on for dear life.

Already, Amity regretted her life choices more and more.

It was the dead of the night when Eda forced her to go to the seven eleven near the corner of the street, in her nightgown. Eda gave her a list of ingredients, but did not tell Amity if she was going to be baking the same recipe for the cookies or not, because she definitely brought extra ingredients but Eda only wrinkled her nose at it and kicked her out, shouting ‘Be back in thirty minutes or so long, sucker!’

“Eda, why is there cheese in the list?”

Eda sighed through the phone as Amity browsed through the set of cheese in the aisle. The speaker from above her played out a lofi playlist and she had an inkling that the person managing the store was already asleep, judging from the loud snores that echoed throughout the empty shop.

“Should I get cream cheese? Quark? Ricotta?” She listed it off one by one as she eyed them but it only elicited a snort from the older woman.

“Kid, you are one careful fellow, I can tell you that. Luz would have just gotten the first thing she sees!”

Of course, she would.

When Eda did not answer directly what cheese she had to get, Amity decided to scoop all the available types in her arms and dropped them off the counter, where the employee was startled and jumped in his seat. He blinked groggily at the heiress, who only crossed her arms impatiently.

Luz better be worth all these cheeses.

But you already know she is.

When she got back, Eda was already lying on the worn-out couch in the corner of the café. Amity sighed and set it down in front of her, the plastic’s sound bouncing off the cozy walls. Eda only opened one eye before she sat up with excruciating slowness, as if testing the Blight’s patience and how long she was going to keep up with being ordered around.

Well, Amity thought, it was definitely wearing thin.

“So why did I need to buy all of it when the recipe didn’t tell me anything about adding cheese?” Amity prompted, hands on her waist. Eda grunted in return, and let out a yawn. She ran her hand through grey locks and shrugged it off.

“I didn’t say it was for your google recipe. I just needed cheese for tomorrow’s food. Thanks for paying, by the way.”

Amity almost spouted a string of curses that she was sure she had never done in the entirety of her life, as Eda muttered how she never told Amity to buy all the available types of cheese. She restrained herself for the sake of hoping to be welcomed back to the café in the future because Eda could kick her out tonight and never let her back in if Amity did throw her dignity out the window, so she held her tongue.

Eda grinned at her triumphantly as if she knew that, and Amity realized just how sharp and smart the older woman was, in spite not looking as professional as her sister (she found out recently) in Hexside. She led Amity to the kitchen and watched the teenager unwrap all the ingredients her chefs allowed her to get from the pantry, and Amity felt mildly uncomfortable about the fact that Eda was just leaning on the doorway that connected the kitchen and the living room slash main room of the café, with a mug of apple juice (she called it blood) in one hand.

Amity pondered on the reason she came here in the first place, when Eda was doing nothing to help her, only shooting unreasonable comments when she made a mistake. Amity did not even check how long she had been there, because she was mostly focused on trying to throw the owner off by making sure her mistakes were as subtle as possible. Her competitive nature gave her an idea to put on a façade of confidence and cockiness, expecting to make Eda believe her.

“Nice try, kiddo, hide the process all you want, your results will uncover them all anyway.”

That stopped Amity from almost over kneading her third dough. She stuck out her tongue in concentration and tried to make sure she did it how Eda drilled in her earlier. Her mind was curious about the innocent words Eda spouted, because ironically, it was a very fitting statement for the predicament she was in.

She and Luz could hide whatever they needed to hide, but sooner or later the outcome would bloom and they would find out either way, and would have the responsibility to stick to the consequences their actions have brought.

“So, do you and my kid have problems or what?”

Amity nearly jumped out of her skin when she found Eda peeking on the dough from her side. Her eyes spoke of seriousness, coupled with a frown plastered on her red lips the golden tooth jutting out in the corner of her mouth. From behind Amity, King barked as if he had the same question and Amity wondered if the small dog actually had a mind of its own; if he did, then people might let him overtake the world because of how adorable he was.

Amity pulled a face as she was unquestionably cornered by the two and she hesitantly answered, with a lowered gaze. Sure, she convinced herself that she came her to make apology cookies for her person, but judging by the looks of it, it was not a reason that would convince the shop owner.

“What makes you say that?”

She tried to make her expression as vacant as possible, but Eda only scoffed at her and narrowed her eyes. From below, King growled as if he sensed how she was deliberately redirecting the topic and she sighed in frustration and waved her hands vigorously in defeat.

“Okay! Okay, fine! These cookies are for Luz because I’ve been a total jerk,” she faltered and sucked in a sharp breath as Eda glanced at her wearily from the side as she drank her apple blood, as if she were saying, Really?

Amity had a suspicion that Eda could rival her mother in their deducement and it would be a fight that would sell. She would set up a stand and give out tickets to nearby people, while Luz could have shouted and advertised in front of the stall, saying Fight of the century, folks! Get your tickets!

She almost smiled at the thought of Luz in a mascot as she held up a photo of Eda and Odalia and the image would have sent her chuckling, if she did not catch the knowing look on her current mentor’s face.

“Uh-huh. Okay, kid, here’s the thing,” She set the mug down on the counter and shooed Amity away from counter, which Amity was more than glad to obliged. She stepped away as Eda eyed it meticulously, as if she were listing down the steps on how to fix the mistakes Amity had been making. Amity noticed how she glanced at the teenager’s fingers, which she had clumsily bandaged up earlier that day after she kept forgetting that the oven was not to be touched without mittens.

“Luz has been stressed out by something for the past few days,” Eda shuffled around and rummaged around the kitchen, coming back with what Amity recognized as cookie cutters. She focused on Eda’s words as the latter handed her heart-shaped ones, before she continued, “You haven’t been in my café for a while and usually if she’s here, you’re here with her too.”

She instructed Amity to start rolling out the dough and ready the cutters afterwards, but Amity only tilted her head in uncertainty. She raised her brow at the statement as she caught the worry hidden underneath the raspy voice. She heard a snore behind her and found King atop her bag, as if he had marked it with finality as his royal pillow bed.

“You mean...She hasn’t been here with anyone else?”

Amity would not blame the older woman if she would lie in order to be on Luz’s side. Some adults did that for their children, and it was not as if Amity condoned it, but it could have been rational. While she did settle on trying to be the best girlfriend she could be, she still struggled to accept the part where Luz could fall in love with someone else. It was a huge possibility, and while it also was a big thorn on Amity’s side, Luz was free to do that and she knew that Amity could not tie her down. The green-haired girl would not blame her because she was not exactly the most likeable student in Hexside, much less a girlfriend.

A slight sense of guilt hit her when she recalled the times Luz was being sweet and she countered with being snarky and ungrateful. It was clear to her that Luz deserved more, and it there were just more people available who could top Amity Blight’s attitude.

Eda made a face at her question before she whipped her head to see her, genuine confusion written in her eyes. Amity laced her fingers together nervously and looked down, feeling the familiar flush of her ears coming up as she pursed her lips. There were no words to describe the embarrassment she felt, at the likelihood that Luz could have fallen for whoever it was, because it would prove just how unlikeable she was.

After all, her father did say that she had made a mess of their reputation with the suitors they prepared for her to meet.

“No. Baby Blight, I would have told you myself if she did, heck, I’d beat up my own kid if I caught her!” She scowled, her hands flailing around as she exclaimed the audacity if Luz would have dared to do such actions in her presence. It made Amity’s heart skip a beat as hope blossomed in her chest.

Maybe she could ask her.

“You mean...Luz isn’t in love with anyone, right?” She said it quietly, as if she were afraid of the answer she sought. Frankly, she really was, but just when she realized what she had blurted out, it was too late to take it back because Eda stopped ranting and turned to her, giving her full attention. To avoid the inevitable confrontation regarding her question, Amity averted her eyes and decided to press the heart-shaped cutter onto the rolled-out dough, silently judging the thickness of the thing she created.

Eda grew eerily silent at her question. She placed the rolling pin and cutters down on the counter and leaned on it and it made Amity feel like a deer caught in the headlights. Her skin grew warmer and she hoped she was not going to be sweating buckets under the scrutinizing eye of the owl lady.

“Of course, she is,” Eda replied simply, directing Amity to oil the tray and place it in the oven. This time, Amity did not forget to put on the mittens, which hid her bandaged fingers as she picked it up and walked towards the preheated oven across the kitchen. Apparently, Eda had been paying attention to what she had been doing because everything was already set and ready and all she needed to do was just place the abominations she created inside and voila, hopefully they were good tasting cookies, never mind the blob shapes. During all of these, her heart sank as she sauntered from one corner to another, trying to conceal the disappointed expression on her face.

But just as she finished with the tasks at hand, Eda called out from the back, slightly surprising Amity with the surety in her voice as she said, “She has you, doesn’t she?”

Amity contemplated on that assertion.

Eda did not know that Luz and Amity were just fake dating. But what if Luz entered the obligations Amity had set for her, with feelings? She had no doubt that Eda was right to defend Luz if the heiress doubted her, because Eda knew her person more than Amity did.

So no matter where she went or who she asked, Amity already knew the answer to her question; she just needed someone to confirm that those photo evidences taken within the Owl House were fake.

It filled Amity with relief and it felt like a burden was completely and forcedly removed from within her.

 The adult wrinkled her nose at the softness in her voice and as if to cover up her blunder, she yawned and stretched out her arms, feigning sleepiness. Amity flinched at the small cracks she heard, as if Eda had not moved so much even though she actually did as she was more hands-on than the chefs Amity had come to know in the different hotels her family has visited over the years. She waved a hand while she stuffed the other in her long skirt’s when she turned around and shifted out of the room, mumbling about how she never asked to be a counselor for teenagers.

“Blight, I assure you that Luz hasn’t been here with anyone else other than with her mom. Sometimes King and I keep her company while my staff settle things around here. If you suspect something, then I suggest that as her girlfriend, you should trust her. Now clean up here when you’re done, I’m going to sleep.”

Amity lingered in the center of the kitchen, King still nestled comfortably on top of her bag as he breathed slowly and softly. The girl pondered on those words for a while more, fingers subconsciously rubbing against the colorful bandages on the burns that have become more obvious on her skin. She was slightly glad for all the times she and Luz had physically fought each other, because it taught her to pocket some packs of colorful, animal-printed bandages. When Luz found out, she grinned so wide when she whipped out an almost similar kind of pink and purple bandages.

While she was deep in thought, her phone rang and she immediately ran over to the oven, with mittens in hands as she clumsily opened the handle and excitedly checked for the blue cookies.

Eda was right when she said that the results did show the things that she tried hiding away; the blue cookies were a bit disformed but still appeared similar to hearts and stars instead of the blobs she was expecting.

But for someone like Luz, they were absolutely perfect.

Because there were always stars in the girl’s eyes, which at first, had infuriated Amity because she wanted to punch those lights out. There was always something tugging at the corner of Luz’s lips which is why she was always smiling-even if it was taunting at times-her demeanor was infectious enough to have pulled Amity in and made her laugh genuinely.

She did not want this with anyone else.

She wanted those smiles and secret glances and knowing looks to be with that girl.

She hummed at the ideas as she placed them in a small, pink box with a black striped cutting through the middle. Amity hoped it reminded Luz of mint hair, goth looks and a fiery fire that wanted to burn for an eternity. She took pride in her work and leaped around the room, taking the startled dog off the table and whipping him around. He blinked at her, confused, but Amity did not care because she was successful in her work.

But of course, just when everything was perfect, the day refused to conform with the idea of making Amity happy.

Her phone rang again, this time with an urgent call as Luz’s face appeared on the screen.

_

“What were you thinking?!” Amity grabbed her by the shoulders angrily.

She suppressed the worry in her after wrapping the bandages around Luz’s forearms, muttering words of comfort as she checked for external injuries. She shot Luz an irritated look while the latter focused on anything but her face.

Just when Amity finished wrapping the apology gift, she was jolted awake and away from exhaustion at nearly one in the morning when her phone rang continuously. Luz had called her, with rasp breathing and pain evident in her tone as she asked whether Amity could give her a lift. Without ending the call, Amity had rushed out of the shop, slamming the door behind her which she was sure to have an earful from Eda the next time she came to visit. She was clad in one of Luz’s oversized jackets she found in the backseat of her car and while she drove anxiously, she made sure Luz was still conscious on the other side of the phone by talking about mundane things while she stepped on the accelerator hurriedly, only to find her person all beaten up in a narrow alley behind a bookstore. She had gotten into a fight with some drunk students that were making a riot in a nearby bar while she was on a midnight walk.

Or at least, that was the explanation given to her.

It was uncertain if this was Luz’s first time to do those walks or if she had done it way before they started fighting or fake dating, but what mattered was that not even she had beaten Luz the point she might have had a broken rib that could also have punctured her lungs, and Amity swore that there were no words to describe just how worried she was.

It was beyond human comprehension.

Luz was leaning against the dirty, graffitied walls, her jacket discarded, exposing the bruises she had gotten from the earlier street fight. Her shirt was slightly lifted, showing off a nebula which horrified the top student. The purple beanie Amity had given her a month ago was lying next to her, slightly stained with what Amity hoped was not Luz’s blood. She breathed, trying to calm herself down even though her eyes brimmed with tears. Her heart beat erratically in her chest as she tried not to panic because it would do them no good.

“You should have called me earlier, stupid! Who in their right mind would fight three people without a weapon? What if they had a weapon? Do you want to die? You don’t know how much I want to strangle you right now-”

“They did it!” Luz slammed her hand against the ground, a growl escaping her throat. She had never looked so angry before and fortunately, never directed that anger towards Amity. She ran a bruised hand through her messy hair, looking so helpless as if having to fight them back was not enough as payback for things that have been done. Her teeth were gritted, eyes sharp and dangerously red. Her nose was broken, knuckles bruised as she weakly tugged at the pajamas Amity wore. She flinched as if moving hurt and Amity prayed that it was not as bad as it looked.

“They sent you the photos. The photoshopped ones! You were so down about it that I didn’t know how to make you believe I wouldn’t do that.”

The toughness in her voice disappeared as she gasped and clawed at her throat. In the blink of an eye, Amity was in front of her, cupping her face in distraught, eyes wildly darting all over her body.

She chewed on her bottom lip, as anger boiled inside her and she growled. While it was true that she might have believed those photos because of her own self-depreciating thoughts, it was only but a moment and now she regretted trusting Luz not to do something rash.

Of course, she would do something rash. Amity should not have left her alone.

“They sent me photos of you too...” Luz continued softly, blinking through her bangs and squinting at Amity as if she had a hard time focusing and staying awake. Amity’s lips formed a thin line, expression softening at the sound of Luz coughing.

“I didn’t want them to get it out because even though I knew you wouldn’t do that, you had a reputation to keep and I didn’t want them to ruin it. So I did what they told me to do and stayed away...I gave the evidence to Principal Bump and the police, but you see, I don’t have the money to actually make things happen.”

The frustration in Luz’s voice broke Amity’s heart; her lips quivered in resentment and Amity believed her. She always did. Suddenly, everything felt warm as Amity clicked her tongue. She was going to talk to her parents about this, that was certain. Luz should not have taken the downfall for false accusations and it pained Amity to see her try to solve all of this on her own.

“Luz, look at me.” She pinched one of Luz’s uninjured cheek, making her flinch, and she continued saying, “I’ve experienced people putting down my family all my life. I had my fair share of fake things and I had them taken care of. You should have told me!” Amity exclaimed You shouldn’t get into a fight because of that, ”Amity already speculated the protest when Luz opened her mouth, so she placed a finger on those chapped lips, and glowered,

“Or at least let me join you, idiot.”

 A dangerous glint flashed in those all too familiar brown eyes as she replied with a stubborn grunt, “I made them eat their words, that’s for sure. All I need to do is make sure the photos don’t go around or I’m actually going to commit homicide.”

“Luz…” Amity warned albeit not genuinely. She was going to do something about that later.

“Let me see your back, please.”

Luz muttered a weak agreement and groaned when she turned slightly as Amity inspected every side to check if she had missed anything and assessed just how bad the wounds were. She hoped there was no internal bleeding because Amity was going to do more than ruin those pricks’ lives. Luz skimmed her surroundings, hand moving to grab something which was turned out to be a beanie. She sighed in relief when Amity offered it to her, and Luz carefully wore it over her head and patted it in place. Amity watched the action, a bit surprised at how much Luz seemed to treasure the beanie, which, to her relief, was also in one piece.

“Did you at least win?”

Luz raised a thumbs-up.

Amity sighed and sat next to the injured girl. She made a face as soon as her back made contact with the dirty cement. As if she was too tired to move, Luz laid her head on Amity’s lap, mumbling something about staying like that for a minute.

“You can scold me tomorrow.”

Unfortunately for Luz, Amity was not about to stay in a dirty alley that smelled like people had peed on it recently. She dragged the other girl in her car, spreading the bomber jacket on the seats behind and laid Luz on it. She saw the box in the passenger seat and exhaled, knowing that it was not the right time to give it to the broken girl.

Her parents would kill her when they check the cameras but right now, Amity only cared about taking Luz to the hospital. She turned the key and the engine roared back to life. She checked her phone to see the nearest hospital present and mumbled curses to herself for still having trouble finding areas. Being a Blight had its disadvantages, like having family doctors coming to their doorstep instead of making trips to the hospital.

The fabric rustled behind her and Amity glanced at the mirror to see Luz struggling to sit up. She turned to scold her, but she had plopped back down on the makeshift bed, letting out a shuddering breath. After Amity made sure she was still awake, Luz let out an airy laugh.

“By the way, that’s my jacket.”

Perhaps Luz was okay enough if she had enough energy to grin and mutter that statement. But just to make sure, Amity would have her checked.

Just to be sure.

_

Are you sure it’s okay?”

Luz bounced nervously in the passenger seat, with new bandages and a clearer head. The doctor said that she was going to be fine but Amity could take her back in case she observed her person to have any other symptoms that would show more worrying matters. They argued in the white room about how Luz insisted on going home only to be countered with the fact that her mom was going to find out and she was going to be insanely mad.

Mama Noceda wins. Amity snorted, taking it to be her win as well.

Amity almost threw the box to the backseat when Luz settled in the front. She waited as Luz took her jacket in the back and when she closed the door, that was when Amity slid the box in the now empty seat.

It was only starting to hit Amity hard when they arrived at the Blight Manor and she had to figure out how to sneak Luz in without being seen by the cameras. She sent a text to the twins, wishing that they were awake so they could turn the cameras off temporarily in the control room and as she waited, she leaned back on the driver’s seat and breathed.

Luz was going to be the death of her.

“Yes,” She answered even if in truth, her parents would probably kick her out. From the corner of her eye, she watched as Luz shifted around uncomfortably and winced when she hit a particularly sore spot. Concerned, Amity automatically laid her hand atop Luz’s and leaned in to inspect the girl closely.

“Are you sure you can sleep tonight?”

Luz let out a quiet laugh and smiled. She turned her hand and intertwined their hands together.It probably took three rapid heartbeats, when she scanned Amity’s face in the darkness.

A pause.

“No, maybe not today.”

They settled in a comfortable silence, staring at each other with such intensity that if Amity had not been running on adrenaline, she would have melted. It was then that it dawned on her that they have not spoken about the party and about the photos. At least not in an orderly fashion.

There was a sense of trepidation between them, and Luz’s eyes glowed in the dark. Amity could barely see the whole of her face, as the dim lights in the garage lit up her side and her breath hitched when Luz leaned in to rest her forehead against the driver. The proximity made Amity lightheaded as she could feel Luz’s hot breath on her lips.

“You know it’s funny,” She whispered.

Amity gulped and squeezed her hold on Luz’s hand. There were sparks that went through from her finger tips to her body and she wondered if it was one of Luz’s charms to have made her shudder with the desire to pull her closer, until no space was left between them.

“What is?” She said back, highly aware that they could close the gap any moment and it was so tempting, too tempting, to do, that Amity’s free hand gripped the edge of her seat tightly, until her knuckles turned white.

“This is the most you’ve touched me,” Luz quirked a smile which made Amity’s heart skip a beat.

She missed this. She missed the intimate closeness they shared, where they were the only ones in a fragile bubble that could be popped any moment. They could have discussed all the logic and intention behind the fake photos and the rationality of their actions in the closet weeks ago, they really could have done that.

Maybe on another day, they could have, or maybe it had already been settled because they had already solved all the doubts and shot each other knowing smiles. Instead, Amity switched tactics, simultaneously annoyed and thankful that she had pressed her lips to the side of Luz’s face, placing a kiss on her uninjured cheek, instead of breaking the agreement that held her back, not because of her pride, but because she respected Luz’s conditions enough to obey them.

Then her mind reeled back to the first few days before.

Amity had kissed her. Deliberately and willingly this time.

She was enamored with the way Luz leaned into her touch, leaving her hand that was on the armrest as she cupped Amity’s face. Amity was uncertain if what flashed through Luz’s eyes was similar to what she yearned for, but before her person could speak, Amity’s phone vibrated. This jolted them out of the bubble and untangled themselves, Amity’s face flushed red as Luz rubbed her nape sheepishly.

Edric: Mittens, u have 10 minutes to do whatever it is before the cmaeras turn back matic. 3:32 a.m.

Amity heaved a frustrated sigh and quickly grabbed Luz’s hand, muttering how they had to go, and go fast. She grabbed the box from behind, almost forgetting that she had it, and with fast steps, they swerved left and right within the manor, as Amity knew the paths like the back of her hand. There were times Luz stumbled and groaned quietly and as much as Amity felt bad dragging her when she was injured, she was more remorseful about what her parents would do if they caught the two of them heading towards her room.

As soon as opened her door and pushed Luz in it, she flung it shut quickly, pressing her ear against the wood and heard the power turn back on. Just in time.

From behind her, Luz let out a wail and when Amity turned her head, she saw that the Latina had stumbled backward to her bed, beanie flying off when she fell. Frightened, Amity ran towards her and sputtered out apologies.

“You know, Blight, I know you’ve always been the rough type of girl but please go easy on me today.”

That earned her a light punch on the shoulder. Luz scoffed and huffed a meanie under her breath. Amity ignored her as she was more occupied with how Luz was wearing a dirty, stained white shirt and muddy pants, on her clean, pink sheets.

This would not do.

She opened her closet as Luz closed her eyes to rest, and Amity pulled out an oversized undershirt and a pair of blue shorts. It would do Luz better if the scrapes and wounds on her legs could breathe and she had to clean it as well since she refused to show it to the hospital, insisting that they were not dangerous enough to be infected.

“Luz, get your ass over here pronto.”

While she knew that the girl heard her, Luz opted to stuff her face into purple pillows, turning her back on the owner of the room. Amity threw them on the bed and impatiently urged the girl to change while she took a much-needed shower.

“If you don’t change, I’m going to throw you out my window,” Amity threatened, injecting as much malice as she could in her words. It worked because Luz murmured an involuntary yes and turned again, plopping herself on her back.

“Okay, captain, you’re the boss,” Luz replied sarcastically and got up just as Amity rolled her eyes and went in her built-in bathroom. She thought none of it when the warm water hit the bareness of her skin and all Amity could think about was scrubbing away the smell of alley pee and sweat. It was only when another groan echoed from behind her bathroom door that her mind drifted back to her fake girlfriend and Amity blinked, the steam of the hot water turning the temperature up high.

Luz is in my room.

Ames? Where do you want me to put my unclean clothes, your highness?” There was a bitterness in that low voice of hers, but Amity paid no heed to it as her ears perked up at the nickname she longed to hear for a while now.

“Leave it, I’ll place it here later,” She squeaked out, face flushing when her imagination broke out and although it was not the implication she knew it to be, the thought of being in one space with Luz was exhilarating. The notion of sleeping in one room, and taking turns in the bathroom was something so mundane but it made Amity’s heard leap in her chest.

She wanted that.

She was sure of it now, that it was something she desired with Luz and her alone.

Amity buried her face in her hands and hid the smile that threatened to overtake her lips, when Luz exclaimed back an Okay, mi novia. Nothing could have been better than this; sharing something with another person and being conscious of the fact that they were going to end the day together.

Then again, Luz never did have the same ideas as hers.

When she came out, with mint hair damped and sticking out in all sorts of directions and a towel around her pale neck, Luz was sitting near the window, already changed, and holding the box that Amity threw in with the girl earlier. She was still wearing the messed-up beanie and at that, Amity’s eyes softened. She would have to wash it later.

“Ames, I saw you tuck this in the back earlier, what is it?” She asked, patiently and keenly.

So Amity did what she was best at, lest she buried herself alive when Luz stared at her, the gears turning in her head when her eyes settled on the new bandages that hugged Amity’s fingertips. Quickly, Amity placed her hands behind her back and swallowed nervously and answered too enthusiastically.

“My love for you!” She replied.

Luz stared at her in disbelief and scoffed to the side, eyes going back to checking the different corners of the box that looked like mini-Amity.

“...Are these coals? Will you be using it to light up that fiery love you have for me?”

At the unneeded sarcasm, Amity glowered and crossed her arms. The audacity to have insulted her when she worked hard to have it resemble cookies instead of coals.

“You know what? Give them back, you don’t deserve my love.”

She marched towards the girl and nearly snatched the box out of her hands but Luz pulled away just in time, agitated at the gravity in Amity’s sharp voice. She opened it clumsily and stuttered out an “I’m kidding!” as Amity climbed onto her and tried to reach for the sweets that Luz did not deserve to eat.

She was not worth spending the amount of cheese for Eda, no she was not.

“Stop, I want to eat it, I swear, let me open it!” Luz exclaimed and panicked, her legs flailing as Amity shoved her arms under the other girl’s armpits and tried to gauge the box from Luz’s hands, unknowingly pressing herself against the other girl and it only took Amity a second too late to comprehend the situation when her face was thrust forward into Luz’s chest and the scent of lavender filled her nostrils.

Instantly, Amity halted, eyes widening in shock at what she had done. She sat sprucely in Luz’s lap, legs hugging the taller girl’s sides and her jaw dropped when in that moment of surprise, Luz let out a Ha! And wrapped one of her arms around the room owner’s waist, pulling her forward. She came face-to-face with Luz, who beamed at her victoriously, a bandaged-up nose brushing against Amity’s pale one.

“¡Yo gano!” She chirped.

But Amity was apathetic at the way she lost, because the way Luz was looking at her now was heart-stopping and it took all of her willpower to not faint right there and then. Subtly and without breaking her gaze away, Luz pushed open the box and picked up one of the blue cookies, the hold on Amity’s waist unyielding. Her heart did summersaults in her chest and Amity trembled slightly with the propinquity, and she was terrified that it would lead her to a temptation she wanted oh so much to drown in.

“You made this for me?”

The playfulness was gone from those fiery brown eyes that bore into Amity’s golden ones, and it was as if there was an electrifying shock as Luz peered down at her. Amity swallowed when she felt dark fingers press into her side and it tickled, which made her let out a small squeal.

“I-Yes...It’s my first time making them, as you’ve noticed earlier...” Amity breathed out heavily, a bit disgruntled at the action which put a smirk on the other girl’s lips. At first, Luz seemed dissatisfied with the answer and her eyes roamed around the room, surveying it as if she was planning something. She raised the blue cookie that had long lost its warmth from how long they have been out and she studied it, which made Amity shrink back, as if she was back in elementary school, waiting for the critique of her professor at her attempt to make sweets.

“...I’m not the first person you’ve invited into this room, am I?” Her words were careful, but the question disoriented the Blight. She blinked at Luz distractedly, before the other girl pressed her fingers into her side again and she let out an involuntary laugh.

“I-No, you’re not...”

Luz was not upset per se, but she frowned at the answer as disappointment flashed on her face. Before Amity could ask what was wrong, she stiffened instead, when she felt Luz tuck her hand under the back of her shirt and laid her chin atop Amity’s shoulder, breath tickling the shorter girl’s flushed ear. Her fingers lingered at her lower back, tracing circles as she waited for Amity’s breathing to steady.

And it was hard.

With the way Luz pushed her closer to her body, fingers rubbing comfortingly on her back as she murmured sweet nothings Amity did not understand. She clutched Luz’s exposed shoulders, and reclined, face flushed so red that Amity was sure Luz would have known by now. Before she could however, Luz resisted and angled her head to press a kiss on Amity’s jawline, which made the latter gulped.

“You’ve received kisses from your suitors before?”

There was something unfamiliar in Luz’s husky voice. Something she has not heard for so long and in lieu of so many things happening at once, with her mind burning everything blank at the soft touches and hug that Luz was giving her, she tried her best not to stutter.

“Y-Yes, but why-”

“I’m holding you right now,” Luz pressed forward, brows creased in concentration and lips forming a thin line, and Amity’s heart sped up, her consciousness screaming at her to get away from the predator’s eyes.

Amity was always the predator, never the prey.

“Will I be the first to hold and pepper your faces with kisses in this room?”

Her eyes widened at the possessiveness that dripped from those words and her mouth fell open, startled at the sudden question. The blue cookie that was in Luz’s other hand was forgotten as she dropped it back inside the box and she immediately ran it through Amity’s damp locks. She should have scolded the girl for probably getting crumbs into her newly washed mint hair, but she was rendered frozen under Luz’s warning gaze.

“Would I be the first?”

Screw it.

Yes,” Amity answered hoarsely. Her legs felt like jelly and she lurched forward, energy drained as she rested her head on Luz’s shoulders, ears flushed to the tips and she hated herself for giving in, for not punching Luz back, but the fact that Luz asked her all those questions just to find out if she was the first to do that had Amity’s heart do backflips.

Luz chuckled and hugged her, pressing kisses on the side of her face. She cradled Amity close and the latter could not help but wrap her arms around Luz’s broader back, hands slipping under the shirt she gave and she contemplated on the thought of leaving scratch marks on her back, but waved it off when she remembered that her person was injured and she might end up making it worse. They stayed like that for a little longer, and Amity felt one of Luz’s hands leave her waist and coming back with the blue cookie. Amity turned her head slightly and tiredly, to see Luz bite into it gingerly, a thoughtful look on her face.

Amity closed her eyes and adored the sound of Luz enjoying the cookies she made, which filled the quiet of the room. She was long past the denial phase of how she would have said that she disliked what Luz had done, but now she was unable to; Amity was infatuated with the possessiveness in the darker girl’s voice and she relished in it, with her heart stuttering and fingers shaking at the tips.

It was only after Luz finished the cookie when she spoke again, albeit quiet and apologetic.

“I’m sorry, Ames.”

At that, Amity tilted her head and watched Luz through half-lidded eyes. She furrowed her brows in question as Luz smiled at her sadly, the arms on her waist loosening as she brought up a hand to cradle Amity’s pale face.

“I’m sorry for not telling you that I was going to beat them up. It’s not that I think you’re weak, but I just wanted to protect you this time around even if I knew you could protect yourself.”

Amity shook her head and clicked her tongue. Tomorrow, those little boys would find themselves expelled from Hexside and while Amity was not cruel enough to make their families’ lives hard, she was set on threatening them to eradicate whatever photos they faked and to blackmail them afterwards.

Her parents on the other hand, would be doing far worst and after what they have done to the two teenagers, Amity doubted if she was going to stop her father and mother.

“It’s fine.”

Her tone left no room for arguments and Luz was wise enough not to press the matter further. Instead, she lifted Amity up but almost tripped in her steps towards the soft bed when she flinched at the sudden spark of pain that shot through her upper body. Amity frowned and hauled her forward to land on the bed, with their weights making it dip slightly and soon, Amity found herself snuggled back within Luz’s arms, the blankets covering their flushed bodies.

Before she was swallowed by the exhaustion and slumber, Amity remembered cupping Luz’s face and pressing a kiss under her eye, before she nestled her head underneath the girl’s chin, catching a whiff of fresh pines mixed with Amity’s own scent of lavenders.

She was vaguely aware of how Luz peered at her, fingers tangled in mint green hair as she played with it gently, mumbling about how she loved the brown strands that fell forward into Amity’s sleepy face.

But what she was not sure about, was the words that came out of Luz’s voice, sweet and emotional as she planted a kiss on her forehead. An understanding dawned on her face as Amity felt her tighten her hold around her waist, with legs tangled together in need of more warmth. In the morning, her siblings would find them wrapped around each other, slumbering the weekend away and take photos of them, but what plagued Amity's head, was the illusion she was not sure she herself conjured up.

Because she could have sworn that the last thing she heard was-

“Amity? I don’t think I can breathe either.”

Chapter Text

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.