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i wanna wake up with you all in tangles

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“Look at him, Delia. He’s so cute.”  

Misty giddily swipes over to the next photo, then another, all to go alongside the twenty she’s already shown to Cordelia, who smiles and chuckles accordingly to each one. “He’s adorable.” She leans in closer, eyes closing briefly as she detects some sweet perfume wafting from Misty’s direction and dancing around her. Part of her wants to ask why she’s wearing perfume to sit in the woods of all places, but bites the question back with a smile.  

“I love him already.” Misty gushes as she continues to stare at the picture of the tiny calf. Over the weekend, one of her cattle had given birth and since then she’s struggled not to coo constantly over the baby. Cordelia seems to have gotten the worst of it, but her other friends have definitely experienced Misty’s zeal over a new baby. The Cajun stares to her phone with utter adoration, smile so wide that dimples poke into her cheeks.  

Cordelia sighs and shakes her head at her, though more in her own amused way that in annoyance. 

Misty’s fingers brush over the screen again. “He’s so tiny.” 

“Misty.” She tries to break the intense focus with a gentle lull of her name.  

It doesn’t work. “Look at his small ears and nose, and all those spots.” Misty goes googly eyed, once again ignoring Cordelia’s voice as she loses herself to the image in front of her.  

In the end, Cordelia reaches for the phone and gingerly takes it from her hands. She frowns at first, though it dissipates when Cordelia is in her sights instead. “Was I doin’ it again?”  

“I was beginning to think I was never going to get you to stop.” She teases, spotting the picture again in the corner of her eye. “He is cute though. But you gotta stop ignoring people.” Her light laughter infuses around the woods like bird song, and has the effect of making Misty smile sheepishly under its wake. Cordelia doesn’t vocalize that being disregarded for an animal is a little perturbing, yet Misty’s innocent appreciation brings a swell to her heart.  

“Sorry. Animals are just better than people.” Misty pouts, struggling to keep chuckles within her lips. As they bubble over white teeth, Cordelia feels the skin of her ear prickle when she notices how close they’ve drifted toward one another. The Cajun doesn’t have seem to have realized, either that or she doesn’t care, and they practically drink in the other’s buzzing aura.  

Cordelia moves her besotted gaze away briefly, scared that if she looks too long she’ll be paralyzed in place. The result is she peers down lower to the ground beneath them. 

“Are your feet not cold?”  

Her grin grows painfully wide where she observes Misty’s pale toes sat submerged in the lazy stream, sitting alongside a scattering of pretty pebbles. As if knowing they’re the centre of attention they wiggle back at her while Misty tilts her head with a gentle smile. “Nah.” She shrugs indifferently, a hand running through her dishevelled mane.  

Without thinking, Cordelia reaches over and pushes a loose strand out of her eyeline. “Don’t tell me,” she starts with a playful grin, teeth poking out between pert lips, “you probably did this in the middle of December too, right?”  

There’s a flash on pink on her face but she grows comfortably into it. “And so what if I did?”  

“You’re such a weirdo.” She taunts all too fondly.  

Misty severs their locked gaze, leaning forward and running fingers through the water. As fingers make contact with ground under the shallow pool, the surrounding water turns cloudier with dirt by the second. “I just like the feel of it.” She sighs. “Makes it seem like I’m connected to God and the earth somehow.” As if realizing that there’s an audience, she smiles in a self-conscious pause. “Sounds silly, huh?”  

“Not at all.”  

Any doubt flies away at Cordelia’s insistence, but she stares toward the stream in a pensive manner. “You gotta say that ‘cause you’re my friend.”  

“Hey.” She growls playfully, but lets a serious nature creep into her words. “I said it ‘cause I meant it.”  

When Misty doesn’t reply, the older blonde finds herself glancing around at their surroundings with piqued interest. The swamp holds a sense of serenity and intrigue that Misty so perfectly fits into as though she’s sprouted from the soil beneath them. Cordelia’s fingers dig at that soil idly, enjoying the sensation of damp mud clinging to soft fingertips. 

Even in the middle of February, life and creatures cling to the protection of the swamp around them. Birds call from tree to tree in a chorus of repetition, with crickets offering a backing choir for their singing. Closing her eyes, she allows the noise to lull her into a pool of calm; a perfect way to spend her evening in a midst of a long day at school. There’s a shift beside her, a sweet hum that perks her hearing and falls peacefully into the space between her ears. 

With one eye cracking open against striped sunlight that fights through surrounding foliage, she finds Misty staring at her. At first, her heart jerks in wonder, until Misty’s light giggles instantly put her at ease from their own carefree nature.  

“What are you looking at?” The corner of her mouth twitches with a deep smirk, eyes beginning to smoulder despite the way she fights it. 

Misty changes under the gaze, all wide eyes and thoughtful lines carved into pale skin. The question hangs awkwardly in the air for a few moments until Misty stamps it down into the dirt with her own. “Do you believe in God, Delia?”  

Cordelia laughs softly on reflex, more from being completely and utterly blindsided by the existential question than anything else.  

Then her skin begins to itch with unease as she notes the way Misty’s nostrils flare in upset, skin pinching tightly in the corners. The itch grows harder, more uncomfortable, until she’s ready to just about claw it from her own body. As if ignorant to Cordelia’s exponential agitation, Misty continues to wait expectantly. 

With the abruptness of the question fizzling away around them, she faces the probing head on with a knot twisting at her intestines. “I guess I – um. . . not since I was a little girl.”  

“What made you stop believin’?” 

For some reason, she finds herself struggling to glance at Misty, whose boring eyes seem to beg access for Cordelia’s soul, and she’s too scared to give it to her. Instead, she watches her own index finger tracing patterns in the dirt below them alongside fall, decaying leaves. “I don’t really know.” She thinks back to her childhood, to a time when she thought an all-knowing deity watched over them; maybe in Fiona’s quake no other force could compare, or perhaps too many prayers went unanswered. Cordelia swallows thickly and tries not to let despondency cling too tightly to her words. “I think too many bad things happen for me to believe, you know.” 

She stiffens nervously as she says that, tiptoeing around Misty for fear of offending her beliefs, but the Cajun only muses further, then her eyes move back to the water. “There are lots of bad people in the world.” Misty agrees quietly, then surprises her with far more hopeful words. “But there’s good people too.” 

Cordelia offers her the sweetest of smiles. “Yeah.” Her arm is wrapping around Misty’s thin shoulders, searching for smooth skin that she pulls closer in a need for closeness. Misty grants her that, effortlessly falling against her body. Sure, it’s slightly awkward with her taller height, but neither make to readjust. “Like you,” Cordelia compliments in earnest.  

“Oh,” Misty sighs, “I’m not all that good.”  

She scoffs in disbelief, peering down at her. “Of course you are.”  

There’s a long pause, then she heaves in a breath of the swamp air like it might cure her of her sudden melancholy. “My Daddy says we’re all full of sin.” 

Her words linger around them uncomfortably, infiltrating the natural beauty that surrounds the pair with a stifling weight.  

Uncertainty keeps her from replying straight away, answers filtered and edited and thrown away because they just don’t feel right for the sudden severity in Misty’s gaze. She squeezes her shoulder and runs a hand through shaggy hair, biting back a chortle when she feels moss stuck to those tangles. Picking it out without prompting, she speaks in a wiser tone that she’s ever been capable of before. “Well, no one’s perfect, but it doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying.”  

Another standstill in the conversation makes her question whether Misty had heard her softly spoken words, but just as she’s about to say something else there’s a meek response making itself known. 

“I’m tryin’ real hard.”  

Cordelia tilts her head. “To be perfect?” She holds back that she thinks the kind hearted Cajun is already pretty perfect enough to her, letting the words die in her lungs.  

Against her body, Misty rotates and warps until there’s cold where her skin had pressed against Cordelia’s. “Tryin’ not to sin.” She clarifies.  

“You? Sin?” She raises her brows with the start of a smirk on her lips. “Misty, you haven’t got a sinful bone in your body.” 

She thinks of the girl fawning over baby animals, the same one who stopped them in their tracks to put a deceased deer to rest, and who talks to the plants in their club with the insistence that it helps. But then there’s a switch inside of her, that flips and changes, and pushes Misty into a fierce bear ready for fight or flight. Usually, that response is fight. Cordelia wonders if it’s because she is the youngest of seven, if brawling and roughhousing is an everyday occurrence in her household.  

Even so, that side of her only emerges when provoked. And right now it’s as dormant as a hibernating bear, sleeping soundly deep in the caverns of her body, ‘cause with Cordelia there’s never a reason for it to appear.  

Misty gives a wry smile, then watches her muddled reflection in the water. “I don’t know about that.”  

“What sins could you possibly have done?” Cordelia smile, only half there but still present. “You’re like a little puppy.”  

At the comparison, Misty snorts and shakes her head. Even if sadness is saddled on her shoulders, she clearly tries to keep it reined in and smile in the direction of her friend. “A puppy?”  

“Yeah.” She feels her cheeks growing pinker by the second. “You’ve got these big, expressive eyes and your hair. . .” For effects, she carefully runs fingers through it again and admires it. “And you’re just - I don’t know.” Embarrassment clutches at her words. “Adorable, like a puppy.” 

“You think I’m adorable?” Misty asks, sickly sweet and completely bewildered.  

Cordelia laughs at her own awkwardness, hoping it does something to shift it. She pulls her knees up and wraps arms around them slowly, never taking her eyes from Misty who has tilted her head to one side in thought as she waits for a reply. “Is that too weird a way to describe you?” she winces slightly, her smile bordering on a grimace. 

But Misty is grinning and shaking her head, all dejection chased away by Cordelia’s compliment. “Not at all. I think you’re . . .” She pauses, lips twisting thoughtfully. The older blonde hangs on the edge with all muscles frozen in place.  “You’re. . .” Those blue eyes move the full expanse of Cordelia, slowing over her parted lips and tearing themselves away to get lost in the abyss of her own stare. “You’re my best friend.” Misty whispers out to the trees that surround them in a protective veil.  

She reels at the strange description at first, but Misty is admiring her with such a devoted smile that she forgets how to breathe for a second.  

“And you’re mine.” She grins.  

Misty returns it all too easily. 

She just about manages to tear her gaze away to look at the hazy sky as reds and oranges push the sun further down the horizon. Against it, rain clouds threaten them with a downpour at any moment though neither seem to care about its potential.  

The Cajun tugs her feet from the river finally, allowing them to dry in the receding sunshine while Cordelia checks the time on her phone. “You don’t have to go yet, do ya?” Misty suddenly asks, fixing her with narrowed eyes.  

“Ah, no.” Even if she did, she knows that she’d push and push that time limit until she physically couldn’t anymore. “Was just making sure Fiona hadn’t text.”  

“She still mad at you?”  

She rolls her eyes. “Well, she thinks I have an attitude problem.” 

The very idea has Misty snickering under her breath and muttering some cuss about Fiona that she doesn’t need her to repeat. “Why does family have to be such a pain in the ass?” Misty poses out of nowhere, back falling so she’s sprawled on the plush grasses with her flowing dress pooled around her.  

“I just have my mother to contend with. I don’t know how you deal with siblings as well.”  

Misty lifts her head, catching Cordelia with a sardonic twist of the lips.  “You get used to it.”  

Cordelia stalls at her lacklustre answer, continuing to admire the world around her with a faint smile, only for it to grow when her eyes fall on Misty again. “That sounds convincing.” 

Fingers sifting through not quite sprouted flowers, Misty sighs loudly. “Nah. They’re fine. I love ‘em all, I suppose.”  

“You suppose?” She probes with a teasing smirk.  

Though Misty smiles, it doesn’t quite meet her eyes. “Well, you gotta love your family, haven’t you?” She gives a shrug, as if that’s all there is to it. Just the black and white of love. “Even if you fight and holler at each other . . . they’re family.”  

She frowns in sympathy. “Do you fight a lot?” 

Misty shrugs again, then begins playing with the silicon casing on her phone. The older blonde hates the way these opportunities fly by like a shooting star, so fast that if she blinked they’d run right under her nose. But she doesn’t miss this one, and intrigue, as always, pushes her to ask more. “You sure don’t like talking about your family, huh?”  

The Cajun blinks, keeping that steady gaze in her direction. “No one’s ever really asked me about them before.” She admits. Lips twist unsurely into a smile, like she can’t quite decide Cordelia’s angle. “Why do you care so much?”  

“Because I like hearing about your life.”  

Misty’s smile blooms through her glum demeanour.  


Put on the spot by the question, she feels cheeks suddenly tainted with pink and her lips puckering in thought. “Because I care about you.” She whispers. I care in ways that I shouldn’t.  

Misty grins proudly upon hearing those words, reclining in her position to catch the smallest amount of sun. The way her skin captures it makes her close to ethereal, and Cordelia considers confessing her feelings then and there, surrounded by the songs and murals of nature. In Misty’s natural habitat, she thinks with a soft smile.  

“Well,” Misty poses quietly, twisting in her direction with a smouldering set of blue eyes, “what do you wanna know?” 


She grows baffled, though in the most delightful of ways. “That narrows it down.”  

“Honestly,” Cordelia says, “just tell me whatever you want.”  

“But what do you wanna know?”  

Oh so much. She wants to drink in every aspect on Misty’s life and learn it all, but they’ve not got long until the night is going to close in and she doesn’t think that an entire seventeen years can be condensed into the best part of an hour. “Um, who do you live with?” 

Misty regards her with a strange look, but supplies her with an answer too. “My Daddy, Nell, her husband and the baby, then just Tommy and Sylvia.” She keeps her expression plain, but joy seeps in as she continues to speak. ”’n the dogs are allowed in the house most of the time. When Daddy’s in a good mood.”  

She hums, trying to keep track of all the names in her mind. “But you have more brothers, right?”  

“Yeah.” Misty nods. “Nash got his own place when we moved here. Then Jackson has a ranch further out east – he has the most beautiful horses you’ve ever seen!” Her excitement must get the better of her, seeing as the next couple of words fly out unfiltered. “And Kyle, he . . . he – " She stops dead in her tracks, eyes widening slightly as though realizing an error. “He don’t live with us anymore.” She ends simply, tone turning icy in the face of the warmth around them.  

That only serves to pull Cordelia in further, forcing questions out of her own lips. “Did he move out when you got here? Like your other brother?” 

The Cajun offers a sad shake of her head. “Nah, this was before all that. When we lived in Latanier. Maybe two. . .” Her nose scrunches up as she calculates dates in her head, “no, three years ago.” 

She nods, mouth creating a small ‘o’ as the daunting bleakness threatens to sweep around Misty again. Deciding that she isn’t going to let it win, she quickly jumps in with something that she knows will brighten her friend in any moment. “Least that means there’s more room for the dogs.” She walks on a thin piece of ice, she knows, but it holds firmly and Misty is beaming her way.  

Her laughter lands wonderfully in Cordelia’s ears. “Right. And in the new house I get my own room.” Each word is uttered appreciatively, with her smile widening to reveal white teeth. “Which is way better than sharin’.”  

“Oh, I bet.”  

“I had to share with Nell back home and we’d argue all the time.” She remembers with a fond grin, and Cordelia can only assume that this is the typical kind of sibling arguments that bear no real anger. “But these past few years are – " She bows her head and pausing in contemplation. “I dunno, she’s different. In a good way. Guess bein’ a mom is good for her, huh?” 

Cordelia stretches out muscles from where they’re cramping of sitting idle so long, but she nods and hums along contently with Misty’s words.  

And now, like a flower’s petals first peeking out, Misty seems to gain confidence and fully blossom in her company, speaking without prompting. “Sylvia on the other hand. . .” She rolls her eyes. “Some days I think I could strange her with my bare hands!” 

The old blonde barks out a laugh. “Really?” She stares to Misty with a concoction of shock and amusement swimming in her eyes. 

“She’s just awful.” Misty insists. “Goes outta her way to spite me, I’m sure.”  

Unable to find a comfortable position, Cordelia makes a bold decision to lay down on her front, daring not to think about what could be sticking to the cotton of her blouse. Grass tickles the skin around her collar bone and when she peers up at Misty she sees wandering eyes that snap away all too quickly. “I’m sure she doesn’t.” Cordelia prompts. “I’m sure she loves you.”  

Misty is grumbling and shaking her head, doing anything to negate that statement. “You don’t know her like I do.”  

“I don’t know her at all.” She chuckles to herself.  

“Trust me, you don’t wanna.”  

They fall into a natural lull again, with Misty peeking at her through thick eyelashes when she thinks she won’t notice, and Cordelia doing the same. She lets a hand over toward Misty’s, where it loiters just next to it. This time, she finds bravery where tentativeness had been and crosses the invisible line between them, making contact and placing hers over the pale hand next to her while her heart beats erratically.  

Beneath it, Misty tenses, like the way one would do when an insect unsuspectingly crawls onto them. But then she’s glancing down and realizing it’s not some rogue arthropod and instead her friend. A sigh so light that Cordelia barely catches it follows, then she relaxes once more and fights a smile that wants so badly to be on her lips.  

Cordelia watches her curiously. “Maybe your sister will surprise you and change for the better, like Nell.”  

“I doubt it.” She grins wryly.  

Her fingers move under Cordelia’s. At first, she’s worried that she’s pulling away and severing the comforting contact, until fingers interlace with hers. It takes an awful lot of self will not to give a reaction to such an act. She does manage to stifle her adoring beam to a conservative and sweet smile. “You never know.”  

Optimism brings a brightness to Misty’s aura, who peers back at her in a way that has her insides twisting delightfully. “Is that everythin’ you wanted to know?” She asks coyly.  

The older blonder chortles in an instant. “Not even close.” 

“We’ll have to go soon.”  

“There’s always tomorrow.” Cordelia smirks, brow twitching simultaneously. “And the day after, and the day after that . . .”  

Bursting into a fit of giggles, Misty balks at her in elated surprise. “That’s an awful lot of time talkin’ about my family.” Even if she’s smiling, nerves tug at her voice and lower it.  

Cordelia shrugs. “Until you take me to meet them, this is all I have.”  

“Alright, alright,” she starts to relent. 

“I’ll keep asking – " 

“We ain’t that interestin’ a family.” She chuckles and continues to stare down at their joined hands.  

She tightens her grip. “It’s a right as your best friend.” Cordelia points out coolly. “And you’ve met my mom, it’s only fair.” 

Misty, though clearly enthused with her words, raises a brow and narrows eyes into thin slits. “Didn’t realize it was best friend duty to meet each other’s families?” 

“I don’t make the rules.” She feigns innocence, eyes shimmering with playfulness behind them.  

The Cajun’s grin splits impossibly wide and she lifts a hand easily to shove Cordelia away to match her jest. She rolls onto her side, rocks and twigs jabbing into her ribs. “Ow!” She dramatically calls out, running fingers hurriedly through her hair which has flown in front of her face in the shape of a dishevelled nest.  

When it’s pushed out of the way, Misty is surveying her with laughter easily sitting on her lips.  

And Cordelia isn’t sure what comes over her but she next thing she knows she’s retaliating by springing onto her knees and attempting to pull Misty to the ground too. She squeals and fights with childish hijinks that she’s never once had the urge to do in her life. But now, at eighteen, with Misty in front of her, it seems like the only choice available. Her fingers grip around Misty’s wrists, tugging and twisting against a girl who’s clearly her superior in strength.  

Their bodies writhe against one another, shrill voices chasing away birds and other wildlife as they disturb their peace around them, and inside Cordelia thinks her heart is just about ready to kick up a storm. Laughter rings in her ears as the two stubbornly fight for a winner and neither are ready to given.  

As the play fighting continues, giggling beginning to take her breath away but even so her chest feels as full as ever at the feel of rough hands against her and the occasional peak of bright, blue eyes.  

Until she slips and stumbles, landing clumsily on the uneven ground once more, though this time she manages to bring the Cajun down with her. There’s a fluffy of golden blonde hair in her sights, and a shifting weight on top of her. “I win.” The voice comes from somewhere behind all that hair, gravelly and proud and enough to send Cordelia into a spiral of arousal.  

“Y - yeah.”  

Misty slides off of her, though comes to rest just to her side, so flush that she may as well still be lay atop her torso. She spies Cordelia’s pout and smirks. “You ain’t bein’ a sore loser, are ya?”  

She manages to find air once again and shakes her head. “I’ll win next time.” She insists.  

At the idea of ‘next time’, Misty’s eyes widen delightfully. She has a light sheen of sweat from all the movement, and Cordelia can feel the warm liquid sticking to her own forehead. “Oh yeah?” she taunts back.  

Her suddenly dark gaze is a promise of yes, but it catches Misty unsuspecting. At first, she lets pink creep along her skin, but then she’s shifting away from Cordelia and clearing her throat nervously like they‘ve gone too far. Maybe they have. Maybe Cordelia has, but she knows that Misty had enjoyed every second of it. The older blonde pushes out a pensive breath, pretending she doesn’t notice, and keeps the strained smile on her lips.  

Misty is already reaching for her phone in the hopes of a distraction. With a low groan, Cordelia tugs herself up so she’s in a sitting position and glances over the Cajun’s shoulder at her phone screen. In the background, she sees the calf Misty has spent the last few days besotted with. She leans in gently. “Even if I don’t get to meet your family, can I at least meet Axel?”  

Twisting, she tilts her head in wonder. “You don’t like animals.”  

“I do!” 

“Yeah. . . cats.”  

She ignores her sudden flush and gestures to the screen. “But if he’s as cute as you say, then I have to meet him.”  

The Cajun’s smile returns, all awkwardness forgotten about. “Yeah, you do.” Cordelia grins at the prospect and lets the pair fall into silence as Misty can’t help but overwhelm her with more pictures. She focuses in on her camera roll, seeing not just the calf, but all sorts of animals staring back at her in varying places.  

It causes her to have a moment of musing, gaze volleying between Misty’s phone and the girl herself. “How come there are no pictures of us on there?”  

Misty slows her scrolling and regards her with confusion. “What do you mean?” 

“Why don’t we have any photos?” Cordelia decides unhappily. “I don’t think I’ve got any of you on my phone and all you’ve got is animals.” 

She shrugs with ease and then chuckles. “I ain’t really one for takin’ selfies.” But Cordelia isn’t so convinced and is reaching for Misty’s phone, switching to the camera. “Delia. Are you – does this really bother you?” 

“I just think best friends should have at least one picture together.”  

The Cajun opens her mouth to counter, but firmly shuts it closed when she notices Cordelia’s expression. Unable to deny her, she softly glances toward the camera. “Okay, but you gotta take it.” 

Cordelia is all too happy to do that, finding the perfect angle in an instant where the small amount of sunlight is still visible “Scoot closer.” She says softly, a hint of tentativeness after their roughhousing just moments ago, but with the tension having dissolved into the earth beneath them, Misty does as asked. Their heads come together gently, Misty’s leaning slightly in her direction until hair is tickling the side of Cordelia’s face. She grins, instantly taking a number of photos to ensure they get the perfect one, even if Misty groans and rolls her eyes half way through. “Oh, stop complaining.” She orders with a grin.  

“I’m not complainin’" Misty mocks offence just in time for Cordelia to catch it on the photo. She sniggers and shows it to her proudly, earning a liberal eye roll from Misty.  

Just as she’s tugging away, Cordelia suddenly frowns. “Wait, I want one for my phone!”  

She pauses. “I can just send them to y – " 

Craving that closeness to Misty once more, she’s already shaking her head and insisting. “Just one?” 

“Oh, alright.”  

She’s sneaky and takes a couple extra when Misty isn’t quite looking, though she’s pretty sure that she realizes. “There. That’s the first of many.”  

There’s no fight left in Misty who only bites her lower lip and nods with a smirk. “C’mon,” she says after a few moments, “we should get goin’.”  

And Cordelia almost forgets about the photos in the upcoming days with the flurry of classes and studying. 

Almost .  

Until she is sat next to Misty in the beginning of biology and she spies her phone on the desk, hidden beneath textbooks. When Misty clicks on it at a particularly boring moment of the class, Cordelia sees the image of Axel the calf has now been replaced with one of them as the lock screen, grinning and laughing at the camera. They look so happy. Her heart aches for a moment, breath hitching just loudly enough for Misty to notice and turn to her in question.  

All Cordelia can do is offer a small shake of her head and the most serene smile, as dormant hope stirs inside of her.