A groan. “It’ll look nice. I promise you!”
Hesitations holds back her response. “I ain’t ever straightened it before. . .” Misty absently touches the ends of her hair, wild and unruly, and apparently begging for Coco to style it. Even if the Cajun holds some reservations about that.
Coco grabs her by the shoulders, shoving her down into the chair just in front of her vanity. “Which is why I will do everything for you.” She runs her own hands though the curls, excited and thoughtful; not in the tender way that Cordelia often finds herself doing. “Mallory, pass me the brush.”
Through the mirror, Misty catches sight of where Cordelia is smirking on the bed at her. Her eyes twinkle with the words ‘I told you so’ after they’d debated on the way here which one of them Coco was going to try and dress up. Misty pulls a face, annoyed but playful, and gives a roll of her eyes. Still, there’s a smile that lingers in the corner of her mouth.
It lasts for all of about three seconds until Coco drags a brush through her hair. “Jesus Christ.” She winces. “Are you tryin’ to scalp me?”
“It’s not my fault your hair is so knotted,” she counters with a tut. The next time she strokes it through, the action is much gentler and Misty only manages a grimace.
She purses her lips in irritation but doesn’t bite. Instead, her eyes keep drifting back to Cordelia like she’s going to help her through the ordeal of a semi makeover. All she gets from Cordelia are her stifled giggles. There’s something amusing about the way Misty shifts and grumbles like a petulant child, reprimanded every so often by Coco for not staying still.
“I don’t know which one of you is going to kill the other first.” Mallory grins as she works on her own make up in a hand-held mirror. Two glares are thrown her way.
Coco finishes her militant brushing and regards the frizzy mess she’s created, while Misty’s eyes widen in horror. “Don’t look like that.” She leans in over Misty’s shoulder. “You’re gonna look great. Every guy is gonna be staring at you the whole night.”
At that, Misty pales ever so slightly, gaze flickering downwards. Her silence is enough to summon Cordelia’s gaze again, who watches the Cajun hum out a half-hearted, “yeah.” It gives her pause, but Coco is already speaking again.
“Oh, this is going to be so much fun!”
“As long as you don’t throw up again.” Mallory chimes in, teasing, and bringing color back to Misty’s face when she draws the conversation elsewhere.
On the bed, Cordelia shifts and giggles. “You threw up last time?”
Her haughtiness carries through easily in her response. “Someone spiked my drink, I swear. I didn’t have that much.” She suddenly smiles softly over to Mallory. “Least you were there to make sure I was fine.”
“And watch you hurl out of my car window.” She shakes her head with laughter. “I’m beginning to think being the designated driver isn’t all it’s made out to be.”
Misty tilts her head curiously. “You ain’t drinkin’? I thought that’s what people did at parties.”
“No, my parents would kill me if they found out. And I’m a really bad liar.” She grins then, continuing with her eye liner. A casual point is aimed in Coco’s direction. “Plus, someone has to make sure these idiots are safe.”
Coco glares, while Cordelia feels a response bubbling over her lips. “Hey! I’m not that bad.”
There's a pointed glance from Mallory, whose smirk is subtle but definitely there. “It’s not the alcohol with you. You’re just so damn clumsy.” This summons a sharp laugh from Misty, low and gravelly, and enough to have Cordelia turning away with a flush in her cheeks. “I swear, I’ve seen you fall up stairs before.”
“Whenever we go to the swamp, we can’t go five minutes without her trippin’ over her own feet.” Misty offers, laughing and all too fond. For the first time that night, she seems fully comfortable in Coco’s room, especially as her teasing blue eyes find purchase of Cordelia’s gaze. Her insides clench.
“No, I don’t.” She feigns offence, grinning.
The Cajun gives a toothy grin, head beginning to drift to the side as she regards the pink sitting wonderfully on Cordelia’s cheeks. That is, until Coco yanks it back into the center. “Stop moving,” she orders, gathering up thick tresses to start the process of straightening them. “Hey,” she starts in earnest, “why do we never get invited to the swamp?”
She freezes in her seat, watching Misty in a careful nature to see what she could possibly respond with. It’s something Cordelia has never given a shred of thought to, but now the idea clings to her mind stubbornly.
But Mallory comes to their rescue, voice assured and brimming with mirth. “Coco, you would get one speck of mud on your shoes and swear never to go again.”
“You guys all think I’m some sort of snobby rich girl.” She grumbles.
Her hand tightens its hold on Misty’s hair as vexation courses through her, though it is only skin deep. Coco frowns. “Cordelia is rich too.”
That statement is enough to have her dropping her lipstick in surprise, panicking as she hopes it doesn’t stain the sheets below. She wipes at it either way, not making eye contact with anyone in the room. “I’m not rich.” Cordelia counters, quietly.
“Don’t you have like, a five million dollar trust fund from your dad?” She asks, a raised brow.
In her seat, Misty’s eyes bulge wider. She turns on instinct, wanting to look directly at Cordelia and not just through the mirror. “ Five million dollars? ” she splutters out in absolute and complete disbelief, accent growing thicker.
Cordelia squirms under the three sets of eyes. In the back of her mind, she can hear Fiona berating her for such a demure stature, and so straightens her back. Head high. Still, she doesn’t like the way that Misty is looking at her, and chooses to focus on Coco instead. “How did you know about that?”
“Our moms are friends.” She shrugs. “I thought everyone knew.”
Her frown persists. “No, I don’t really see the need to talk about it.”
By now, Misty has curled back around to face forward, one side of her hair straight and the other resembling a mane. Cordelia studies her for a few seconds, then crosses the room to grab her dress from where it’s hung. “I’m going to get changed.” She doesn’t mean for it to sound perturbed, but maybe it does, just a little.
Either way, she spends longer than intended in the bathroom, flattening every tiny wrinkle in her dress and ridding herself of any imperfections. The sound of laughter carries under the door, tempting her back into the bedroom. But she finds that she’s glued to the mirror in vanity, nit-picking everything. Stop it. She won’t even notice. Her heart thumps to a nervous song in her chest, and she washes clammy hands once again.
Cordelia checks her make up one more time, satisfied, and tiptoes back into the room.
She quickly has an open bottle of wine shoved into her hands. “Drink up.” Coco orders.
“Don’t you wanna get in the party spirit?” she smirks.
Under her breath, she can hear Mallory lamenting how she’s going to be looking after people all night. But Cordelia is already taking a long sip and letting it settle like fire in her stomach. It calms her nerves, for all of about three seconds. Seeing as her drifting eyes move over her two friends, past the mess of strewn about make up and clothes, to where Misty is twirling in front of the mirror with the widest of grins on her face.
Her dress is short, so damn short that most of her toned thighs are on display. They tense and relax under her movements; Cordelia wouldn’t be surprised if she’d started drooling at the sight. Misty must see her staring in the mirror. She has just enough time to pick her jaw up off of the floor before the Cajun is turning her way and -
Holy fucking shit.
She gulps against the driest of throat. Her hands are so damn clammy again, and she doesn’t think she’s capable of blinking. No, not at all. That would mean she’d have to take her gaze off of Misty for a full nanosecond and that just won’t do. Misty tries to fidget, to roll on the balls of her feet, but the heeled boots she’s in prevent her from doing that.
Eyes, expertly accented with neat eyeliner and smoky eyeshadow, don’t leave Cordelia’s. “Well,” she bites her lip. Her lip that looks all plump and invited and sits with deep red lipstick on it. Fuck. Stop staring.“ What do ya think?”
I think I’m so in love with you.
Cordelia swallows again; it takes just as much effort as it does to find breath in the suddenly sweltering room. “You look. . .” Eyes rake over Misty once more, on that tight dress, on the taut skin where she can see her biceps, then back in a glorious ascent to her beautiful face. Not that she wasn’t beautiful before. She is always stunning to Cordelia, whether she’s drooling in her sleep, or laughing heartily as she twirls Cordelia around the cabin.
It’s her soul that she finds to be the most alluring thing about her, the same way that shines through her bright, blue eyes as she looks to Cordelia expectantly.
The older blonde sighs, smitten. She prays that no one else can hear that in her shuddery exhale. “You look really good.”
Misty turns back to the mirror again, almost timid. “Yeah?”
She makes to stand behind Misty now, a hand smoothing out her silky hair that looks so strange when it’s not ruled by curls. All the individual shades of blonde, some sandy and others golden, all combining in a stunning harmony of color. Misty catches her staring and smiles, demure. “It looks weird, huh?” Her hand rises too, grazing Cordelia’s. As it does, Misty jumps like she’d touched flames instead.
“Not weird.” Cordelia breathes softly. “Just different. Nice.”
The heat around her grows. She isn’t sure whether it’s the room or if something deep inside of her supplies it. She wonders if Misty feels it too. But Misty is spinning now, in turn appraising Cordelia. She stands even taller in her heels, gazing down with a smoulder that makes her heart sit in her stomach.
Cordelia feels her fingers twitch around the bottle in her hand, then lamely offers it out. “You want some?” It breaks the cycle of just staring at each other; she’s sure she could skip the party and spend the entire night basking in the vision of Misty.
Pale hands lift up to gently wrap around the neck of the bottle, and she takes it with a smirk on those red coated lips. Cordelia hardly notices, still gazing at her eyes, lost in pools of blue. She doesn’t ever want to get found.
As Misty is taking a generous sip of the wine, Coco breaks away from her conversation with Mallory to bustle up next to them. “She looks hot, doesn’t she?”
“Uh. . .” Her mind spasms at the very idea of telling Misty that she’s hot to her face, but her eyes are volleying between Coco and Cordelia, and she’s biting her damn lip again. “Yeah.” She agrees, so quiet that she hopes no one can hear.
Coco narrows her eyes at the girl, though keeps any thoughts to herself and yanks the bottle away from Misty. Between the three of them, it is finished all too easily. She ignores the thick way that it clings to her throat, and instead embraces its relaxing powers. She’s certainly going to need it to keep her heart at a regular pace.
True to her uncoordinated nature, and enhanced by alcohol, she tangles her own feet together just outside the front door. A set of cold hands keep her upright, and she follows them to a grinning Misty. “Honestly,” she giggles, “can’t take you anywhere.”
She only laughs in response, enjoying Misty’s touch before it withdraws. There are only a few seconds to mourn the loss of it before Coco is linking their arms together and leading her to the car. Cordelia holds in a sigh, wishing it was Misty there instead. Wishing she wouldn’t keep retreating. But as they settle in the car, their eyes lock, and all is forgotten.
Nerves are exchanged for a warmth that makes home right in her core, one that she wants to stay there forever.
Cordelia blinks profusely as the alcohol makes steady work of blurring her vision. One more blink, harder, as she tries to focus on the person in front of her. That person being Zoe, who steadies her with an arm on either shoulder. “Jeez, how much have you had to drink?”
She stares down to the last few droplets of pink liquid in her cup and grins sheepishly. “I - I don’t remember.” Her legs wobble beneath her, so she reaches for the nearest wall and hopes that it doesn’t fall out of her grasp. Lips part in her drunken stupor, eyes unfocused. “Where did Misty go?”
Zoe smirks, “she went to dance, remember?”
A confused head shake follows.
“Yeah, she’s right over there.” Zoe points through the crowd of people where she can make out the distinct figure of the Cajun, her flowing blonde hair and the quirky way she spins. Like she can’t hear the beat of the drum and base music, but instead moves to the music that sweeps through her own mind. Cordelia smiles like the lovesick fool she is.
Suddenly, she frowns. “Why is she on her own?”
“Because she wanted to dance.” Zoe explains softly, laughing between each syllable. “And you were too busy talking to Queenie.” She wracks her fuzzy brain as best she can, forehead creasing with effort. “But you’re more than welcome to go dance with her now. . .” There’s an encouraging nature to her friend’s voice, and also in the way she nudges Cordelia ever so gently to where the others are dancing.
She twists her head in Misty’s direction again, glossy eyes taking in the sight of her unique dancing; she moves as a free spirit, ignoring all of the looks she’s getting. Cordelia’s heart sways right along with her.
Cordelia pauses, narrowing eyes at Zoe who is both amused and exasperated. “You’re up to something.” She decides.
The blonde points an accusing finger at her, though little anger clings to her words. She isn’t sober enough to even consider being annoyed. With music buzzing inside her head, and constant movement dizzying her peripherals, she can barely concentrate long enough to feel many emotions. “You so are.” She laughs at the way her own voice rises in octaves.
Her friend rolls her eyes, grinning. “And what do you think I’m up to exactly?”
She clamps her lips together, not brave enough to say it. Zoe infers it either way, and gives her another nudge, with her elbow this time.
“You should go.” She laughs softly, “dance with her.”
There might be thoughts in her mind that could lead to some sort of dissention, fuelled by alcohol. Zoe hides the majority of her coy expression behind her as she sips the drink from her red cup, the same stuff that has Cordelia in a dazed hold.
But whatever her befuddled mind might be trying to figure out is usurped by something else. By the overwhelming and compelling notion that she really does want to dance with Misty. Her legs move without command; she doesn’t even get out so much as a goodbye to Zoe before she is navigating her way through the other drunk teenagers. Shoulders barge against her, guys get too close for her liking, and her vision blurs every few seconds.
The faint smile on her mouth slips when someone knocks into her, sending her drink flying a few feet away. “Crap.” She mutters, so quiet that it’s lost long the music. All she can do is watch as the cup vanishes between dancing feet, a small sigh following.
All disappointment floods from her the moment she hears her name called out with the sweetest intonations. It carries clear through all the noise, like she’s been waiting an eternity to hear it. She twists with purpose, finding herself almost face to face with Misty, a smile breaking onto her lips instantaneously.
“What were you lookin’ at?” Misty questions with two raised brows, perfectly shaped.
She peers to the floor again. “I dropped my drink.”
Misty’s face morphs with sympathy. “Oh, that’s real sad.” She drawls, each word longer than Cordelia ever remembers it being before. Is Misty drunk? She can’t tell. Her own inebriation clouds her mind, and focuses more on the fact that Misty’s cheeks are flushed from dancing, how her eyes sparkle all too delicately. Those eyes widen. “Here.” She smirks, just about, and holds out her own cup. “Have mine.”
Reaching to do so, she halts when she sees a trail of red lipstick marks all along the rim of the cup. Fuck.
The Cajun’s brows furrow in confusion. “I don’t have cooties, ya know?”
Laughter is dragged from Cordelia’s lungs, whether it wants to come or not, and she relinquishes, taking the drink from Misty. Eyes scold her skin with her every movement, until the edge of the cup teeters just on the sensitive skin of her lips. She raises her own gaze, insides twisting as she finds herself the sole recipient of Misty’s scrutiny.
That’s enough to sends her soul into a tizzy, unsure of what to do, where to look for all of a few seconds. Because surely if she continues this staring competition with the Cajun, she is going to lose in an incredibly embarrassing fashion as her own desire takes over. But she does look. She looks because she can’t look anywhere else.
Misty is the most alluring creature in the room, and she wants to bask in her presence forever.
She finally takes the plunge, sucking in large gulps. The stench of strong liquor infiltrates her nostrils, enough to make her splutter around the plastic. It echoes inside the cup, which she tugs away and coughs loudly away from. Misty’s delightful laughter follows.
She’s biting her lip, tongue poking out. Enough to steal more breath from Cordelia’s lungs. Misty takes the cup from her and downs the rest in one steady movement, allowing Cordelia to watch as it trails down her throat.
With the empty cup disregarded on the nearest surface, Misty suddenly grabs hold of her hands. For once, her hands are warm – hot; she clutches them back as she embraces the heat. “C’mon, you need to dance.”
“I’m not much of a dancer,” she reasons.
Misty pauses again, giving her that look. Like she doesn’t believe a single word that’s coming out of Cordelia’s mouth. Her dark eyes squint, the corners of them fold in a ripple of faint lines. She looks stunningly unconvinced.
Her legs begin to move to whatever music floats about her head, but all Cordelia can hear is the party music, loud and obnoxious. As if able to sense her hesitance, the Cajun leans in ever so closer. Near enough so that Cordelia catches how a pretty hum vibrates from deep inside of Misty. It wraps her in a pleasant warmth, a hum that she recognizes fondly as a song from Misty’s favorite band. She beams, and breathes in every second of it.
Just as she loosens under the purrs of Misty’s voice, the younger blonde is grinning, too. All wide, and with soft eyes. She sets them both in motion, into a gentle twirl that makes her feel dizzier with just one rotation. Even so, she can’t stop.
She draws Misty nearer, selfishly so, ignoring the voice in the back of her head telling her that she’s taking it too far. That she’s drunk and incapable of using rational thought. Both true. Both disregarded. Seeing as Misty doesn’t pull away when she tugs her so near that their bodies press flush against one another. And she only laughs heartily as Cordelia twists the Cajun around and around in her arms. Just like they do in her cabin sometimes.
Fingers clutch onto one another then, as Misty steadies herself with eyes scrunched shut, joy littering her features. She's stopped humming the song now, but Cordelia continues to play it in her own head, familiar from having heard it so many times before.
They move to their own beat, giggling and cackling with happiness that she tells herself isn’t just alcohol induced.
This is just them, her and her best friend. They make each other happy, and maybe that’s enough.
Blood pulses in her ears at having Misty to close. She smells like perfume and alcohol, but somehow still clings to the sweet scent of nature. How does she do that? It draws her in as always, that painful surge of loving hitting her right between the ribs. Misty finishes spinning, colliding her back with Cordelia’s front. “Ooh.” She doesn’t shy away from the way Cordelia’s arms wrap around her midriff, and instead leans her head backwards, resting it just near her shoulder.
That guilt surges through her again. So much that she can’t enjoy the feel of Misty in her arms, pliant and giggling – and drunk.
You’re taking advantage of her. Stop it.
Despite her own drunken stupor, that thought pushes through against all restraints and jolts her into action. She straightens like someone’s just thrown a rod down her spine, her muscles growing weak under the pressure of her own conflicting thoughts.
Misty tilts her head, so slightly. That newly straightened hair tickles Cordelia’s cheek; she steps backwards then, her lips volleying between a smile and a frown as she struggles to decide which emotions to embrace. After so many days of missing Misty’s closeness, she’s now the one to sever the connection.
The Cajun must experience the loss of heat against her back. She moves to face Cordelia, with more control of her legs than the older blonde, and settles her with that unconvinced look again, less playful this time. The severity of it cuts right though Cordelia, who clears her throat and gives a half smile. “I need to pee.” She blurts out, head all kinds of hot. It’s not a full lie, but she still feels guilt coating her tongue.
She gets a series of fluttering nods in response.
“Well, I’ll wait for ya here.” Misty says quietly.
“Yeah.” She nods. “I won’t be long.”
Misty nods once more. “Okay.”
It takes her a few seconds to actually leave, reluctance settling over her. She feels eyes on her the entire time, but when she dares a glance over her shoulder, Misty has already begun dancing again, insistent on having fun.
But by the time she gets back, the Cajun isn’t where she left her. She spies a flash of blonde hair stood with Madison and Coco, and on instinct she feels herself bristle. The two girls seem to compliment one another like two strong flavours, like mint and chocolate, both intimidating in their own right. Together, they’re a force.
Cordelia beelines for them, not caring as the new drink she has splashes over the side of the cup in her haste. It glues, tepid and sticky, down her thumb and across her palm.
“He’s been looking at you all night, you know?”
She nears just in time to see Misty’s nonchalant shrug and perplexed eyes. “And?”
Madison takes another drag of the cigarette that’s neatly placed between her fingers, eyes almost black as they look Misty up and down. “And, you should go make out with him.” It’s spoken as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Live a little,” Madison sneers, "laissez les bon temp rouler, or whatever it is you guys say.”
“But I don’t wanna.”
“It’s a party,” she smirks, “everyone does it.”
Cordelia is close enough now to be noticed by the three, who have a mixture of reactions. The only one she cares about is Misty’s and the Cajun seems all to relieved at the sight of her. “Hey,” she smiles, eyes lingering on the Cajun for longer, “what are you guys talking about?”
“Misty’s got an admirer.” Coco practically sing songs.
Beside her, the Cajun bows her head and refuses to look Cordelia in the eye. “I don’t even know him.”
“Even better. No strings.” Madison announces. “Just a good fuck.”
“A fuck?” At the coarse language, Misty’s entire face scrunches up in distaste. She isn’t sure exactly what offends her so, but the sight of it makes Cordelia feel a pang of protectiveness. She finds her gaze boring down at Madison in warning.
As always, this only encourages their so called friend, who lives her life intent on making others uncomfortable. “Why not? You scared of a little bit of dick?”
“Madison.” Cordelia rolls her eyes.
“I ain’t scared of anythin’.” Misty retorts, stepping closer so that she towers over Madison and seems all that bit more intimidating. Between them, Coco watches like it’s a rapt tennis match, eyes glistening at the disagreement; that makes Cordelia roll her eyes once more, harder and until she thinks they might never stop spinning.
Madison presses her lips together, a tight line that fills with knowing and amusement. “Is that true?”
Cordelia feels her hand rising slowly, meeting with the soft skin of Misty’s upper arm. Their voices are rising, beginning to catch the attention of others around them. She knows all too well that these vultures of students will go giddy at the idea of another fight. But she’s not prepared to let Misty fall victim to that again.
No punches are thrown though, even if a thick and uneasy air plunges over the four. “I know what you’re tryin’ to do, Madison, but it ain’t so easy to fool me.”
“Me?” she feigns sweetness. “I only have your best interests at heart, trailer trash.”
Misty scoffs, a twisted smile on her lips. “You are so full of shit.”
“Guys, can’t we all just get along?” Coco whines.
It does nothing to break to spell of discord that’s fallen over the two. As always. If Madison and Coco are two complimenting flavors, the haughty blonde and the Cajun are completely contrasting, like orange and mint. The very thoughts make her insides spin. Madison finishes her cigarette, crushing the butt on the side table before she smiles up at Misty. “Yeah. Let’s just get along. Why don’t we go dance?” She nudges her head in the direction of the dance floor. “Why don’t you let me hold you like Cordelia did? We can all be lesbians together.”
Cordelia almost drops her drink, sucking in a sharp breath that cuts at her throat. Not this again.
But normally when she goads Misty like this, it’s at school, where there are consequences and teachers there. And none of them are clouded with the shroud of alcohol over their brains.
For a moment, she can’t even peer at Misty through the corner of her eyes. She can feel her though. Fire and rage and something else radiating off of her body like steam from a geyser. She's fit to explode. Yet she doesn’t. And the curiosity of why is what finally beckons Cordelia’s gaze. Her frame trembles, and her withering eyes would make Cordelia writhe on the spot. They only serve to entertain Madison.
“I told you, I ain’t like that.”
Her grip on Misty’s arm tightens, with the intent of support.
Misty shrugs it off, with it sending Cordelia’s heart dropping to the floor, too.
Madison doesn’t see it. No need. She has her weapon of words locked and loaded, and aims right for the Cajun in front of her. “That’s fucking rich.” She laughs, enjoyment swimming in her features. “You guys were really convincing over there. I was almost saving a room for you.” Her eyes flick to Cordelia and then back. “You’d like that though, wouldn’t you, trailer trash? Cordelia, lay underneath you, screaming out your name. . . oh, Misty!”
Cordelia isn’t really sure how the set of events that follow transpire, though she’s aware of Coco’s unsure protests to Madison, of how Misty is clenching her fists painfully tight. What she is not aware of is her own hand flying up without as much as a nanosecond of thought. It swoops through the air, colliding satisfyingly with Madison’s smug little cheek and bringing a resounding slap around the room.
“Fuck.” She exclaims, cradling the now red spot in between two hands. “What the hell, Cordelia?”
She can barely hear her words from the adrenaline that overcomes her; she almost considers doing it again. Her hand twitches with the desire, held back by very little resolve. Cordelia blinks back into reality where her blood doesn’t boil and she can feel the breath passing from her lungs again. People are looking at her, too many people. Coco’s eyes bulge in place. In the distance, she can see Queenie smirking and cheering her on.
Those aren’t the people that matter, though, and her gaze finishes its rounds by reluctantly falling on the Cajun beside her, who is stoic and still. And troubled as ever. Their eyes meet, endless questions between the both of them. None are asked aloud.
When her mouth opens to try for any words, Misty straightens. That pride and determination refuses to leave. She regards Madison with spite in her eyes, and sneers. “You’re wrong. I don’t think like that.”
Madison at least has the sense not to retaliate, even if she’s clearly dying to spout some retort out.
“Misty -” Cordelia is reaching up once more, her voice as warm as a summer’s day.
It does nothing to shed the tension from the Cajun’s arms, and she doesn’t return the soft gaze. The muscles in her neck tighten, her jaw locks, but her eyes grow wet. “I ain’t gay.” Cordelia is instantly transported back to the moment in the cafeteria where Madison had provoked Misty then, too. How similar it all seems. “I’ll fucking show you.”
This time, as she storms off, it is not in the nature of fleeing, but with resolution in her every step. Coco calls after her, then Cordelia, whose voice still shudders with anger. She snaps her head back at Madison, where she appears to have absorbed the message. “Should someone go and check on her?” Coco asks.
She’s looking straight at Cordelia.
All she can manage is a long breath, her shoulders slumping as tension begins to seep out. “I’ll go,” she says.
In her pursuit, she downs the entire drink in her hand. It’s a bad idea, she knows. But she does it anyway and the frustration within her subsides, just a little. Enough for her to consider going for another cupful before finding her friend. She doesn’t, though regrets it when Misty seems to evade her again.
She isn’t sure how long she spends searching the expansive house, giving in to a drink or two that stop her hands from shaking and that bad feeling from taking over her. Misty seems awfully good at not being found when she doesn’t want to be.
Confusion sweeps over her when she finally finds a familiar face in Mallory and Zoe, who are both gaping in the direction of the kitchen like there’s a unicorn pottering about in there. Cordelia isn’t drunk enough to be seeing imaginary animals, but she is drunk enough that she finds herself spluttering out questions. “What’s wrong with your two?” she laughs, “surely nothing at Madison’s party can surprise you anymore?”
Mallory’s head snaps away, blinking. “Cordelia!” Why does she sound panicked?
“. . . yeah?”
Hands reach out for her, twisting her in the opposite direction while Zoe stops her gaping just long enough to join them. This perplexes the blonde even further. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing. We should go over here. Look, there’s Nan.”
Cordelia twists in their arms, considering the strangeness of it all. “But I was looking for Misty.” Eyes scan the room, where many bodies mingle, none of them belonging to the Cajun. “I don’t know where she went.”
“She’s probably with Queenie.” Zoe insists, quickly.
“I just saw Queenie. . .”
The two share a look of the uttermost concern that sends Cordelia into a spiral. “We’ll help you look.” Mallory begins in kind, her grip tightening on Cordelia’s arm as she tries to spin again.
She narrows her eyes at them, an uneasy smile beginning to take hold. “You’re being weird.” she announces, slowly. Very much affect by alcohol. She’s still shaky from her altercation with Madison, too, and the pressing need to find Misty follows her.
“You are just drunk.” Zoe counters. The usually cool edge to her gaze is gone, and Cordelia doesn’t like that one bit. She digs her heels into the ground, effectively halting the three of them in one jerking move.
“What’s going on?” She frowns deeply, gaze flittering between the pair suspiciously. They pale in unison, and that’s all Cordelia needs to shrug herself of their arms. They’re reaching out again moments later and hot on her tail as she storms back in the direction from which they’ve just came. Someone shouts out her name, only for it to fall on deaf ears. “What are you hiding?” she says with the hint of a smirk.
Mallory’s face begins to crack, nerves making home on her expression. “Cordelia,” she gulps, “don’t.”
The older blonde pauses, for a moment almost listening to them. Unfortunately, her curiosity will always win, and she continues. “What is it that you don’t want me to – oh." She blinks. “Oh.”
Despite the alcohol surging through her veins, a stone cold sober hits her like a brick. Reeling from the shock, she doesn’t realize as the two catch up with her, caring hands on her shoulder and sympathetic glowers in her direction. They do nothing to help. Nothing at all.
“I -” Her voice croaks, tears welling in her eyes. “Shit.”
Is this really happening? Is she seeing this right? She furiously opens and closes her eyes, hoping that one of these times, the image searing her retinas will change. Disappear. Right off the face of this damn planet. Zoe says her name tentatively when her silence is lasting.
She forces out a breath, not looking to either of them. “I - I found Misty.”
And found her, she has. With her lips attached to some guy in the middle of the kitchen, his hands running through her hair and dishevelling it. Cordelia experiences nausea at the very sight of it, how the Cajun’s arms sit loosely around his shoulders. Her eyes are scrunched together, and Cordelia almost does the same. Not wanting to look for another second.
But she does, then one more. With a morbid fascination and every tendril in her heart breaking into two. Tears rise from her chest, an invasion of upset that sits unwelcome in her throat.
Fuck, fuck, fuck.
“This isn’t happening.” She thinks, only for the words to pass her lips, dismayed and cracking. Her friends hear them; they brim with pity. To Zoe’s credit, she almost looks as shocked as Cordelia at the sight of Misty making out with someone.
Cordelia looks again, unable to focus behind her watery eyes. “I’m -” Her head shakes its unwilling to accept to sight before her. “I need to go.” She states. “I can’t. . .” I can’t look at that. The cup in her hand sits heavy as lead. She stares down to it, expecting to see her own distraught reflection in the alcohol, but it’s too clouded to make out. Just like the emotions beginning to awaken in her mind.
She gulps the rest of the drink with her head thrown back, begging it to help her forget. Just for a minute.
She can’t. Even as she rushes past her friends and away from Misty, it haunts her to no end. She doesn’t fucking understand. Why is Misty doing this? She recalls their conversation days ago; the words Misty had tenderly spoken in the mask of night.
If I ever kiss someone, I want it to be because I really care about them.
The idea of why runs through her muddled brain again, and how? And who the fuck is he? Jealousy sucks any remaining joy from her like a leech attached to her skin. She keeps stumbling away, and lets the tears fall freely as she ignores the well-meaning calls of her friends.
Cordelia wipes furiously at her tears with the bed sheets that she’s sat on. She doesn’t know who they belong to, nor does she care, even when she sees the streaks of makeup left behind. This is all Madison’s fault anyway.
Another sob comes, broken and loud. Because the image haunts her with no signs of stopping, sticking daggers into her heart. It’s not even jealousy that so strongly burns inside of her now; just hurt.
And why? It’s not like Misty isn’t allowed to kiss people. She’s almost an adult and she can do what she wants with who she wants. But why him? What could he possibly have? The answer sits stagnant in the waters of her mind, though she refuses to hear its reason. In the midst of all her thinking, the alcohol begins to demand more attention.
She’s had so much, more than she ever remembers having before. Her stomach hurts and her gaze blurs every time she so much as tries to blink. That’s fine. She can live with that. If she just closes her eyes that is, until everything around her starts to take a life of its own. The bed moves, the floor shifts; when she peeks one bloodshot eye open the walls even dance about her. Cordelia scrunches her eyes closed and wills away all of it, but it only makes it worse.
Gooey saliva clings to the back of her throat stubbornly, stuck on the dryness of her skin. She tries to swallow, only for an altogether more pressing matter to arrive.
Because she is going to throw up.
A hand flies to her mouth as she jumps to uncoordinated legs. Manoeuvring her intoxicated limbs is a nightmare, where she falls against surface after surface until she finds purchase on the wall, or what she thinks is a wall. It doesn’t move away from her so that’s a good sign.
Less of a good sign is the flipping of her stomach, the rising heat up her oesophagus. Cordelia makes a strangled groan as she successfully makes it out of the room, not fast enough to find a bathroom and instead having to throw up in a nearby plant pot. She cringes at the sight of the chunky vomit, threatening to make more follow.
Remains of it linger in her throat, her nostrils, so every time she heaves in a breath it’s just there. “I’m never drinking again.” She mumbles pathetically to herself as a hand hovers over her upset stomach.
She lays on the floor, legs stretched out and head pounding, until the feeling subsides slightly. Enough for her to make it to a faucet and desperately gulp water from her cupped hands. It cleanses her, even if a bad taste lingers in her mouth. Nothing as bad as the distraught feelings that hang over her like a raincloud.
The idea of sitting in that bathroom and letting sleep overcome her is all too tempting for a moment. Until she realizes the last thing she wants is to wake up at Madison’s house, smelling of her own sick, and looking the role of an absolute mess. Cordelia forces herself onto weak legs. “Air.” She says to herself. “You just need some air.” Every word is slurred, and if she didn’t say it herself, she wouldn’t have had any inkling to what they actually are.
Madison’s house is huge, she knows, but finding a door to outside poses a challenge. Made worse by her inebriation. She staggers her way from door to door, intruding on a couple having sex, on a group of college students doing something insanely illegal, but she keeps trying.
Until some French doors open out onto a small balcony where the cold, night air wraps around her in a jarring and welcoming embrace. She sucks in a breath (wincing at the lingering smell) and gives what could be called a smile. If you squinted. As welcome as the icy wind is, it only makes the swirling of her world grow more intense. The trees appear to flutter from their anchor points in the ground, there are at least three moons, and she’s pretty sure the plant a few feet away is moving.
Her fingers clutch the railing, then she soon rests her head against it. It’s so cold that she lets a grateful moan echo from her mouth.
The plant lifts its head and -
She blinks, opening eyes that were most definitely open a second ago. Her legs have given way too, so she’s half lay against the banister with it in a death grip. But she definitely recognizes that voice.
Her response is something of a grunt.
With urgency, the plant is moving ever closer and then there are strong hands lifting her from the railing (she protests with a whine, reaching for it again) before the worried voice says her name once more. This time, the accent is close and strikes right to her heart. Only one person has the power to do that.
She sighs, all that hurt resurging so strong that she doesn’t know whether to cry or throw up again. “Misty?”
Hands are on her face, moving to her shoulders. They reposition until Cordelia falls against a warm body, her neck slumping instantly. “Jesus, are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” She mutters.
The Cajun leans in near, sniffing at Cordelia with a wrinkle in her nose. “You smell like sick. Have you thrown up?”
She tries to nod but it’s more of a head flop. Arms lift her higher, cradling her, and cold fingers move the hair that sticks to her forehead out of the way. When her eyes manage to focus after much effort, she finds Misty’s face pale with worry. “I’m fine.” She finds herself repeating.
“No, you ain’t.”
Misty’s face twists with disbelief. “You’re even stubborn when you’re drunk.” A half smile follows, even if it doesn’t last. Cordelia’s gaze hones in on her, where red rimmed eyes stare back and cheeks shine with tears.
She straightens up, frowning. “Have you been crying?”
There is no answer, not that one that she wants anyone to know, because Misty is gently lifting her onto resistant feet. She leans into the Cajun, even if her head shouts that she wants to be anywhere but there. She doesn’t want to touch Misty where that asshole has touched her. “C’mon, we should get you home.”
Her lips open to protest, but there’s little fight in her. Especially with Misty holding her firmly (and protectively) as they navigate their way to the front door. The party is still in full swing, people are dancing and laughing and smiling. In that moment, she hates every single one of them. Misty must see the way she glares so intently at them, because her frown grows deeper, forehead creasing.
Outside again, and with the added pressure of moving, the contents of her stomach make to lurch out. She grabs onto the nearest tree where she can hurl her guts out, hating that Misty’s soothing voice makes her feel better, how the Cajun holds her hair back and soothes the small of her back.
She wants to be mad at her, but she’s not physically capable of it.
Getting home is a blur, where streets move past her fluttering eyes, and she focuses on keeping everything still. She fails. Quite miserably. Other voices fill her ears, maybe Mallory. She isn’t quite sure; what she does know is the hand in hers is definitely Misty’s because her thumb can brush over the collection of rings there. She sighs, choking back more bile.
“I’ll help you get her to the door.” Mallory. Definitely Mallory.
Cordelia leans into the blonde side of her supports and quickly hears the keys being rattled. A murmur of words follows, things that escape her attention as her pulse beats rapidly inside her head, drumming its own song.
“Delia, Delia.” She flutters her eyelids open, gazing at a pretty, blue eyes. “You need to step, okay? C’mon.”
She does as she’s told, instantly recognizing the smell of furnishings of her own home.
“Hey,” she giggles ever so lightly to herself, “how did we get here?”
“You really are a lightweight.” Misty confirms, a strained smile on her lips as she peers down to the drunk mess that is her friend. “Do you think you can get upstairs?”
She eyes them, as daunted as she’s ever been. But Misty is clasping her waist and she wraps limp arms around her. They make it most of the way without her falling, only for her to trip right at the top. The pair freeze, eyes wide as saucers, when movement comes from Fiona’s room. She’s not drunk enough to forget that’s a bad think, and begins chanting, “fuck, fuck, fuck,” under her breath.
Misty’s expression echoes that dismay. She tries to urge Cordelia on, only for her languid and intoxicated body to fail her. They only get a few steps further when the door opens and Fiona steps out. She’s in a silk robe, hair still impossibly neat somehow, and wearing an expression that’s enough to put the fear of God into her daughter.
Fingers once against tighten against her skin, accidentally squeezing where Cordelia is trying to keep herself from vomiting again.
Cordelia tries to speak, only for Misty to clamp a hand over her mouth. “I can explain.” She starts in earnest, hiding every quiver in her voice.
But there’s no anger in her mother’s eyes now; she only watches them with a careful gaze and eventually pushes a sigh out of her wrinkled lips. “There’s a bucket in the downstairs closet.” She says to Misty. “Put that next to her bed. I will not have her throwing up on the floors – they are very expensive.”
Misty nods frantically. “Yes, ma'am.”
Fiona’s eyes drift over her daughter once again, smirking. “Go to bed. Both of you.”
They need no further invitation, and even Cordelia’s limbs listen as they scurry into her bedroom. Misty sets her down on the bed then goes to retrieve the bucket. The few minutes that she’s gone is enough for Cordelia to torture herself by replaying the events of the night over in her head until tears clutch at her eyes.
She lets them fall freely, too out of control to keep them back, and this is how Misty finds her. Cordelia jumps as she feels her weight on the bed next to her, followed by a hand rubbing up and down her arm. “Shhh,” the Cajun soothes, then frowns as she observes her upset, “do ya need to throw up again?”
Cordelia shakes her head, biting at her lip firmly.
The bucket is slowly placed to the floor and that’s when it becomes a waiting game. Because Misty begins to stare at her expectantly, as though waiting for some explanation as to who or what is the reason for such distraught. And Cordelia is terrified to tell her that she is the culprit. Not of her own fruition, because Cordelia knows she’s being stupid and jealous, and totally unreasonable. Misty isn’t yours. Still, it hurts as if she is.
She continues to cry, a gentle nature to it now. Her breath shudders with each attempt, and she hates that she’s making Misty sit with her through this. A tiny, “I’m sorry,” makes its way through the cries.
Misty’s eyes grow more caring. “Don’t be. We all do dumb shit when we’re drunk.”
If anything, the easy acceptance makes shame sit heavier on Cordelia’s stomach.
Her limbs move, shuffling her until she’s lay on her side and facing away from Misty, where her eyes close and her breath evens out. It also means she doesn’t have the see the heartbreak on Misty’s face.
Movement catches in her ears as the Cajun walks around the that side of the bed, placing the bucket in front of her. Cordelia peeks open an eye. “If you’re gonna puke, do it in there. Last thing I need is your mom pissed at me.”
She sighs and nods.
Misty continues to watch her for a few moments, keeping Cordelia paralyzed even in the spot with her eyes sliding wider open every passing second. The evidence of Misty’s own tears sits right in front of her, but that’s a whole can of worms that she doesn’t have the energy to open right now. Tomorrow.
Then her eyes are gazing lower, to where Misty’s dress has slipped down on one side and her cleavage is more on show than it originally was. She stares, the familiar heat welcome between her legs, until eyes are torn away. Cordelia closes them, frustrated.
Thankfully, Misty takes this as a sign of her impending sleep and retreats. Small noises and rustles creep into her ears, though other than that Cordelia is dead to the world, sprawled out on her bed with the alcohol taking its revenge. A hand flops to make contact with her head as she groans out her woes. This well and truly sucks.
Light suddenly burns against the small slither of her eyes that’s exposed. She winces and hides away from it like a vampire, pulling the cover to shield her entire face. Under there, it’s hot and stifling, and her self pity seems to fill the space all too quickly.
The door to the source of blinding light closes, followed by the soft pads of Misty’s footsteps. With her eyes still closed, she waits for her to get into the bed too, for there to be some inclination of movement next to her, but there isn’t. Confused, she forces one eye open and curses the way the world won’t stop spinning.
Except for Misty, who sits quiet and dutiful with her hands interlaced together, expression deep in prayer. Cordelia rolls onto her other side to observe, even if it swills her insides about uncomfortably. The Cajun has washed her face free of makeup, leaving pure and soft skin; her hair resists being in straight strands, beginning to wave and curl again at the ends so invitingly that Cordelia almost reaches out to touch them.
As it is, she’s not very sure she could control her limbs so expertly.
So, she sucks in a breath and watches the way Misty’s lips wrap around her prayers. It seems to last an eternity, enough for the anger to ebb away and the ghost of a smile to grace her mouth. When Misty opens her eyes and finds her watching, she pauses. “I thought you were asleep.”
“What were you praying for tonight?”
Her features twist with just the hint of humor where seriousness clearly wants to persist. “For you not to suffer with a terrible hangover tomorrow.” The wry intonations in her words have Cordelia’s stomach flopping in a different way.
She closes her eyes and groans again, for a lack of the right words to reply.
Eyes linger for her for just as few moments, but intense as ever. She does feel that movement next to her that she’s craving, selfishly so, before it disappears like the sun over the horizon. Cordelia feels all the warmth swept from within her, especially when her unsteady gaze settles on Misty creating a makeshift bed on the floor with pillows and blankets from the bed.
Her heart literally stops.
“What are you doing?” Pain is all too evident in her question.
Misty jumps, having been absorbed in her task with an aura of sadness about her. She stills, clutching a pillow to her chest. “I -” She looks down. “I kinda got the feelin’ you were mad at me.”
Another jab. Her poor heart might not survive the trauma of the night.
She sighs, dispirited. “Get in the bed, Misty.”
When the Cajun hesitates with shimmering eyes, Cordelia outstretches a hand, a hopeful notion, that will break her if Misty doesn’t reciprocate. But she does, tentatively moving to lie next to Cordelia on the far comfier mattresses. She relaxes, though not to the usual amount. And Cordelia doesn’t need to be sober to register the damn gap between them again.
She hates it. She detests it with every fiber in her being.
Because it never used to be there before, not since before she told Misty about her sexuality, and its very presence is a sign of change. No matter how small. She glares at it, as if her hard pupils could burn it away. They can’t. And she really, really tries.
Part of her leans into it, assessing the way it diminishes for the shortest of time until Misty shifts in turn. Back to square one. Anger flares through her. She’s drunk and fragile, and she can’t stop the next few words from rushing out of her mouth. “You know, just ‘cause I told you I’m gay doesn’t mean I’m going to make a move on every girl I know.” Frustration is far too present in her words.
She instantly regrets saying them, but they’re out there now.
Misty’s breath catches, eyes growing. “Cordelia, that’s not -”
“It’s okay.” She says sadly, apologetic, “Madison has probably freaked you out, but please just – don't act like you’re too scared to touch me.”
It all sounds a little absurd; she’s no fool. They've spent the whole night dancing and partying, all of which involves Misty having been close to her. This is different though, the most intimate way they’ll ever be, and she doesn’t know if she can stare at that gap for the rest of her life.
Before her, the Cajun deflates with something. Her lips purse into one, and she’s all too thoughtful for this late hour. She does, however, reach out and take hold of Cordelia’s hands, squeezing them tightly. “She hasn’t freaked me out, promise.”
Tears begin to fill Cordelia’s voice. “But you said nothing would change between us and I – I. . .”
Misty practically flies forward, wrapping arms finding Cordelia in the dark. The older blonde leans into the touch, beckoned by the comfort it offers. She wants to apologize for being so needy and petulant; all she can do is lay her head against Misty’s chest, letting her alcohol induced tears fall out. “Nothing has.” Misty insists in an uncompelling whisper. It makes Cordelia’s tears fall even harder.
Everything has changed.
She doesn’t have much left to say after that, or nothing that she has the courage to say, and so lets the tears lull her closer to the cusp of sleep. The strong hold around her doesn’t waver. She’s too drunk to appreciate it, and too out of it to hear when Misty calls her name after maybe twenty minutes of sitting just like that.
“Cordelia?” she whispers out again, probing and nervous, and lost on the almost asleep blonde.
It’s said a third time, just to be sure that she is asleep.
Cordelia can just about feel hot breath lingering near her forehead, like a tropical breeze. Barely there, not enough to stir her. Neither is the gentle kiss that is moments later pressed against the skin, full of sweetness and apologies. And love.