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i wanna wake up with you all in tangles

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The newest revelation in her life is one that has her sat in biology, every bit on the verge of falling apart with so many insistent thoughts. She’d almost been relieved when Miss Pembroke had announced a pop quiz, even if Misty had groaned and dropped her head into her hands. Even now, Misty leans over the paper, pen clutched in her left hand as narrowed eyes try to make sense of the questions.  

All the while, Cordelia tries to make sense of well. . . everything.  

She peers at Misty subtly, not enough to draw her attention away from where she chews the end of the pen absentmindedly. Just enough to study her in the way that she thinks she's getting rather good at. Her eyes are dry now, if a little pink, but if she hadn’t held her in her arms over an hour ago as she cried, she wouldn’t even know.  

Even if she thinks she’s being inconspicuous Misty seems to have a second sense, like always, that she is the object of attention and turns. Their eyes catch, and she offers the tiniest of smiles. With it, she places her hand on the desk where Cordelia's sits stationary, right in the middle. That pinkie finger of Misty’s sweeps up against hers, asking. 

Asking for what? Cordelia doesn’t quite know. What she is aware of is the way she places her own hand over Misty's comfortingly. The smallest, but most serene smile appears on her friend's lips. 

She appears to need all the soothing she can get, if she ragged way she stares at the paper in front of her is anything to go by. 

Cordelia is finished with her own quiz; it sits abandoned in favor of her friend. She listens to Misty’s delicate sighs and grumbles that seem to be endless. Her index fingers scrolls over the same question a couple of times, the girl mouthing the words to herself. One word stumps her, leaving her staring in bewilderment. The pen nib gets tapped against it as eyebrows scrunch together.  

She can’t help herself. Eyes watch for all of a few minutes before she's leaning in and whispering. “Chlorophyll.” 

Misty jumps initially at the closeness, then smiles, nothing short of grateful. “Thanks. I can never get that one.” 

No talking.”  

Now, the two of them peer upwards at the teacher, though bear little guilt on their faces as they are reprimanded.  

And then they're back to silence, to her thoughts that drown her. The only thing that calms them is watching Misty, face twisting in frustration every few minutes. She observes her until those questions become all too loud.  

When the bell signifies the end of class, both sigh in relief. It’s short lived, because Madison is advancing, and she's smirking. If there's anything she's learned, that is not a good thing. 

She stills on her approach, caution written on her features.  

Misty, who had been hurriedly packing her things, seems to be the recipient of that smirk. A crumpled piece of paper is slammed on the desk in front of the Cajun, drawing a frown on her lips.  

She doesn’t reach for it. “What's that?” 

“James' number.” 

Fingers clutch the strap of her backpack that bit tighter while Cordelia glares at the scrap. “James?” Misty swallows thickly.  

Eyes flash wickedly. “Don’t you remember?” She pushes the paper nearer until it is grazing Misty’s touch. “Your little make out buddy. He asked me to give you this.” When Misty continues to hesitate, she rolls her eyes. “It’s his number. You put it in your phone and text him hi. Then before long you get to do more than make out, capiche?” Her words are mocking, slow and punctuated like she’s talking to a child.  

Misty moves her gaze ever so softly from the paper, to Madison, then briefly in Cordelia’s direction. As if appalled that she’s having to witness this. “That’s okay. . .” She begins to shake her head, withdrawing. 

“Oh, come on Swampy, just take it.” She goads. Cordelia can feel that familiar swirl of anger inside her, or maybe it’s protectiveness. Either way, she thinks she's about ready for round two of slapping her.  

She doesn’t, and instead spectates with a tightness in her jaw that quickly becomes painful. Misty's tentative hand curls around the paper, holding it between her index finger and thumb.  

Madison grins. “You're welcome.” And just like that, she's flouncing off, not before throwing a gleeful gaze in Cordelia’s direction.  

Ire surges inside of her; violent images swill in the deepest depths of her mind and her desire to keep Madison out of Misty's already convoluted headspace is overwhelming. So intense that she almost snatches the paper from her friend's hand and chucks it away. Or considers burning it. That would be more cathartic, for sure.  

Instead, she takes the less vex fuelled, albeit more diplomatic, approach of leaving Madison’s face unharmed and sending a pained smile over at her friend.  

Misty is shoving the paper as far down into her bag as physically possible, as though willing it out of her sight. And mind. Just life, in general. Cordelia attempts to do the same.  

This gives her pause again. There's a stunted moment between the pair, now alone save for the teacher, as they absorb the interaction.  

It’s as though their roles have switched; Cordelia is the one brimming with pent up, barely held together, annoyance. Misty, by contrast, seems all too eager to brush over Madison's coarse nature.  

“Let's go.” She is yanking Cordelia out of the classroom by the wrist, leading her away from the bad vibes that now float around their desk.  

The older blonde keeps up with her pace, practically a run. Hustle and bustle of other students is hardly registered in her foggy mind, where Misty holds her steady attention, as always. Is this what it's like to be in love? To be so utterly consumed by someone that they make a quaint and cosy home in her mind where they can reside forever?  

She sucks in a sharp breath, trying to focus on the literal Misty in front of her, and not the figurative one that seeks shelter in her thoughts. “Some quiz, huh?” Misty grumbles, opening her locker to shove books inside.  

It is done in a jerking manner, her eyes suddenly darker.  

Cordelia feels herself tiptoeing around her, despising every second that she can’t just come outright with her own emotions. Such as the complete and utter repulsion at the idea of Misty calling that guy. That James. Despite the bitterness it brings to her mouth, she forces her expression to remain neutral.  

“Hmm, it was okay.” She's leaning against her own locker, but twisting in Misty's direction to observe every irate flex of her muscles.  

All instincts to reach out and place a calming hand on her are fought with dwindling strength. “Easy for you to say .” Misty softens, just for a moment, like an eclipse of the darkness allowing her to see things more clearly. “You always ace them.” 

“I don’t.’ Cordelia playfully rolls her eyes.  

“Yeah, you do.” She is reaching for her running gear now, tugging at the laces of worn sneakers that sit under the pile of books and papers in her lockers. “Wish I was as smart as you.” 

Her face pinches in annoyance. “Who says you’re not?” 

Misty halts in her actions to give her a strong side eye, before she is slamming her locker closed. “Least I ain’t so bad at the runnin’.”  

She's giving a cool shrug, acting all nonchalant as if she isn’t aware that she's the fastest one on the track and field team. 

Cordelia feels a smile poking at the corners of her lips. A genuine one, that wants to let Misty know that she's perfect the way she is. It pushes through, and Misty’s tender blue gaze catches it. “Oh, don’t act so coy.” She chuckles. 

A toothy grin is sent in response, the same teeth moving to tug at soft skin on her upper lip. Cordelia is drawn to it like a bear to honey. 

There’s a creak in the lockers as Misty moves to stand beside her in her recline. Both linger, holding their respective items for their extracurricular activities, yet neither make to move. They simply watch the world go by around them, falling victim to the intensity of the day. And what a day it's been, with tears and a gripping weight on her chest.  

Now they’re here, no steps closer to a resolution. Just adding more questions to the eternal pit of befuddlement.  

But Misty seeks to  address one of them, clearly the braver of the two. She turns to Cordelia, her fingers rolling the strap of her gym bag between them rhythmically. “About before. . .” Misty starts, giving this half smile that isn’t really a smile at all. “Please don’t tell anyone else ‘bout what I said.” 

Cordelia blinks, the simple demand enough to make her head spin. It allows the inquisitive side of her flourish like a blooming garden of curiosity. “You know I wouldn’t.” She insists. Because that’s what she is to Misty, a friend, a confidant. Someone who she can maybe share her deepest and more feared secrets with.  

Maybe even a secret that Cordelia expects is the reason for her hesitance in this moment. She looks to her friend now, attention drawn from rushing students to the eerily still way she leans into the lockers.  

That same fear still resides in the Cajun's eyes, fear that she's seen before. It rings clearly in her ears, strained words orbiting her brain. I have these thoughts. They scare me sometimes. Cordelia wants more than anything to know what those thoughts of Misty‘s are. “I know.” Misty makes for a delicate nod. “I just. . .everyone else just makes a bigger deal outta things than they need to.”  

She hums her agreement, knowing all too well the high school drama.  

Misty continues, slumping to the right so her side falls neatly against Cordelia's. The older blonde stills, her body a barrier to keep Misty upright. “And,” Misty sighs, failing in keeping the frustration from her lips, “I just wanna feel normal.” 

“You are - " 

“Don’t.” She whispers, eyes closing. There’s a silent please that doesn’t quite make the leap from her lips.  

Cordelia listens, sensing the fragile way that Misty hangs onto self composure. “I won’t tell anyone.” Her voice may be quiet, but it grows strong with her promise. So much, that Misty turns to peer at her in that pensive state.  

When Cordelia feels Misty’s hand reaching out for hers again, just like in class, she eases under the nervous touch. It’s strange. Misty is always so tactile, so sure of her movements and actions, but these days hesitations seems to hold her at ransom. The paranoid part of her mind, even when not muddled with alcohol, tells her that it’s because of her own confession to Misty. That she's not truly okay with it.  

But her heart fights such ideas with a swell of emotion. It’s something else, she just knows it, and she wants more than anything to put the puzzle pieces together. 

She isn’t granted the chance, because Misty is talking again. The Cajun speaks out into the now almost empty hallway. “What do you think I should do?” 

“What?” 

Misty visibly gulps. “Do ya think I should text him?” Eyes dart away. “Like Maddy said.” 

Her hand retreats from Misty's touch in a knee jerk reaction. Misty stands erect, surprised. Mostly confused. “What's wrong?” she pushes. 

She's already shaking her head before the question is finished, feeling awfully transparent in her emotions. She both desires and dreads the idea of Misty realizing how she feels about her. “Nothing.” She says hurriedly, clutching her textbook tighter. Cordelia wills her heart to slow down, and continues with the intention of deflection. “And it's up to you, Misty.”  

“I – I don’t know.”  

She lets her stare linger, forcing Misty to decide. If it's left to her, it would be a resounding no. Only, it's not up to her, and she isn’t even exactly sure of her suspicions about Misty. Said doubts that have her questioning Misty’s sexuality entirely.  

Cordelia pauses, allowing herself a moment to figure out exactly how to tackle the situation. She thinks she's always been a pragmatic person, but this has her stumped. A delicate approach is needed, preferably with someone who isn’t wholly biased, say, by being kinda completely in love with the Cajun.  

She ignores the clench in her heart. “Think on it, you'll know what's right.”  

Her fidgeting increases, pulling Cordelia’s focus from Misty’s expression to her hands. They have sparkly purple nail polish on that Misty had let her niece paint on, and it glistens in the lights above them. “What do you think?” She questions again, voice thicker. 

“It doesn’t really matter what I think.” Her laughter is half hearted. 

“Yeah.” Misty agrees with just as much conviction, yet continues regardless. “But what do you think?” And she's turning to fully face her now, with an unrelenting glower that makes Cordelia weak at the knees in.  

She clears her throat, praying that something logical comes from her scrambled mind. What does she think? Now, that is the million dollar question, the one that wanes and waxes in all too many situations these days.  

Sometimes she wishes she didn’t think at all. “I - "  

The way that Misty is looking to her, like she's oh so desperately waiting for one answer in particular, is unnerving. Because she has no idea what that answer is.  

“Why does it matter so much what I think?” She says, under the guise of humor, with a teasing smile and a lack of breath in her lungs.  

Misty's eyes might flash with alarm, only for it to fizzle away. “Just,” She pauses, licking her lips in thought, “you always know the right thing to do.”  

The words are said with utter earnest, enough to have Cordelia’s heart swelling at the profound statement. For the first time in that conversation, Misty’s trepidation disappears. She means those words, wholeheartedly, and that means more to Cordelia than the Cajun will ever know. “Well,” she ponders, “kissing aside, do you think you want to see him again?” 

Misty presses her lips together in thought, a small hum vibrating inside her mouth. “He was nice, I guess.” She shrugs.  

Her somewhat lack of a real answer has Cordelia’s frown growing.  

“Look, don’t feel pressured because of what Madison would think, or any of our other friends.” She pauses, then sucks in what she hopes is a big, brave breath, and speaks. “Or the idea that being in high school means you have to have a boyfriend. You said that you don’t care what anyone else thinks – " 

“I don’t.” Misty says. But Cordelia doesn’t believe her; she’s beginning to think that Misty cares an awful lot about what people think of her, about  one  thing in particular.  

She continues in her serious speech. “You don’t owe anyone anything, Misty. If you didn’t like kissing him, then don’t do it again. If you don’t want to talk to him, then don’t.” She realizes that she’s skewing the conversation, just a little, in favor of the outcome she wants. Painfully so, she tries to balance her words. “If it is what you want, then a couple of texts can’t hurt.” 

There may be a strain in each syllable, because she can see the way Misty’s head tilts in something akin to concern. She can see the girl swallow, watching the lump’s descent down her pale throat. “So, you think I should?” 

Maybe her resistance to the idea got lost in translation. Now, all she can do is try to keep the heartache from her expression. How have they got here? With her on the cusp of encouraging Misty to talk to a guy? But she guesses that’s what friends are for, even if it is breaking every tendril of muscle in her heart.  

“I think you should do whatever makes you happy.”  

This forces Misty to just simply stare at her, scrutinizing Cordelia in a way that makes her shift in unease.  

When she can’t bear it any longer, she clears her throat. “You better get to track. You’ll be late.”  

Misty nods, but there is no concern about tardiness in that moment. All of that disquiet is reserved for Cordelia, who starts mumbling something about going to the library and working on some homework. “I’ll see ya later.” Misty says tenderly, still clearly weighed down by her predicament.  

Cordelia tries to satiate all the negative feelings with a wide smile. “Yeah. I got stuff to make linguine for dinner again.” And that feels nice, and stupidly domestic, like they are some couple. Like it’s normal that they’re going to go home and eat a homemade dinner together.  

Her own smile following, Misty sighs shakily. Maybe she’s thinking the same thing as Cordelia, and is thrown off by the idea. “Yeah. Can’t wait.” She throws a glance down the hallway. “Guess I’ll go work up an appetite by runnin’.”  

She laughs now, finally at ease.  

In her retreat, she feels a burning gaze on her the entire time. Only, her mind is usurped by something else, something small and inanimate, but holds more weight that a scrappy piece of paper ever should. In the whole hour and a half she’s in the library, she barely gets any work done, drowning internally at the idea of Misty messaging that guy.  

...

“So,” Misty's eyes are trailing over the pile of ingredients that are half open, packets wrinkled from use, and all shoved into somewhat of a neat bundle to make room for the cupcake tray that Cordelia is filling with the uttermost care, “are we tryin' to feed an army here?” 

Already,  the kitchen is filling with the sweet smell of baking brownies and a tempting pile of cookies sit neatly on the cooling rack. They smell amazing, too. Enough to make her mouth water and a voice in the back of her head insist that she try one. It's well and truly ignored, despite the grumble in her stomach, so that she can smile up at Misty. “Of course not.” She chuckles.  

Incredulity follows, morphing into a pretty smirk. “There's an awful lot of stuff.” 

“Well yeah, it's a bake sale.” She insists with a growing twinkle in her eyes. Misty is sat on the kitchen island, her legs dangling down below her in a ripple of movement. “And it’s for charity,” She adds. 

Misty shrugs, glancing around the organized mess again. “Guess so.” 

With flour covered fingers, she reaches into one of the wrappers and sneakily snatches some chocolate chips. The crinkling gives her away, forcing Cordelia to regard her with a raised brow.  

Misty smiles playfully, as though daring her to say something. It makes her stomach twist, her heart race, and she watches as those small pieces of chocolate disappear behind plump lips.  

She almost spills the batter on the counter. 

If the Cajun notices, she doesn’t say anything. She seems rather content in simply being a spectator, surrounding by a plethora of small snacks to nibble on, even if they’d already eaten pizza when they got back. Even while Cordelia concentrates, she still keeps some of her attention for Misty, as always. 

Right now, the girl is sat admiring the house plants that sit in the kitchen window, blinking against the late sunshine that streaks through the glass. The yellow glow sits serenely on her skin, begging for more of Cordelia’s heed. With lips puckering together, she forces herself to finish separating the batter out between cases.  

Soon, Misty sighs in a tranquil manner. As the days have gone on since their conversation Monday, her worries appear to have eased. At least, as far as Cordelia can see. She doesn’t know if Misty has text James, and a part of her wants to live in ignorant bliss.  

There’s a light thud as Misty jumps down from the island, slowly meandering over in her direction. She feels that presence beside her, like a shadow over her shoulder. Misty smells awfully pretty today, like freesias and jasmine, adding another sense of allure to the girl. The lingering continues, until Cordelia finds a smile crawling onto her lips.  

“What are you doing?” she practically giggles. 

She dares a glance over her shoulder, finding Misty smiling too. “Just watchin’.” 

Her movements still, the batter beginning to droop from the spoon like a stalagtite. “What’s so interesting about this?” she poses, definitely teasing. She knows that she shouldn’t, but her will grows weak from time to time, especially around Misty.  

Cordelia convinces herself in an all too rehearsed manner that the pink on Misty’s cheeks is from the heat of the room. “I like bakin’.” She gives way as an explanation, giving a small shrug. Her hands are held behind her back, but she hovers closer. If she took another step, she’d practically be leaning her chin on Cordelia’s shoulder.  

With her rapt audience, Cordelia finds herself taking far more care.  Heat settles in her stomach delightfully. “If you like it so much, then why have I done most of this?”  

Misty reacts to her playful grin with a gentle smile of her own. “You look like you got it all under control.” 

“I specifically remember you saying that you’d bake something one day.” She swallows, and adds without thinking, “for me.” 

There’s a pause, then Misty bows her head almost shyly. “I did.” 

“Well, I’m still waiting.” She laughs. “I cook for you all the time.” 

She scoffs, humor filled. “Not all the time.” Her accent wraps around the words, thicker in her mock offence. Cordelia loves times like this; she adores the peaks and lulls of her southern cadence.  

“I’ve cooked dinner for you three times this week. Your family are going to start thinking that you don’t eat anything at all.”  

Sweet laughter fills the air. “You know I normally have somethin’ to eat at home, too?” She says, moving from behind Cordelia to stand almost in front of her, between the older blonde and the counter. It forces Cordelia to still, eyes locking onto Misty’s where they transfix her.  

Disbelief wraps around her own words. “How are you so skinny?”  

Misty is already popping another chocolate chip into her mouth, then shrugs happily.  

“Will you stop eating my ingredients?!” she insists, any annoyance giving way to chuckles that let Misty know she’s not really mad. Reaching for the bag, she moves the sweet items out of Misty’s reach, much to the protest of the Cajun. She sets a look on Cordelia, brows lowering into a straight line and gaze nothing short of a smoulder.  

She mustn’t know what she’s doing, because it lasts longer than Cordelia thinks she can cope with. The only relief she gets from the pool of arousal in her lower half is when the oven timer loudly announces the brownies are done.  

As it is, she’s kind of frozen in the spot, so Misty stands straight and smiles her way. “I got it.” A hand brushes her shoulder on the way past, sending electricity surging down her arm.  

This gives her to opportunity to finish the cupcakes, turning to see Misty carefully pull the hot brownies from the oven. Inhaling deeply, Misty grins. “Damn, these smell good.”  

“Good.” She grins, “maybe I’ll let you have one.”  

She spins, mouth falling out. “Just one?” 

Shaking her head in endearment, she helps Misty to get the brownies cooling and raises the oven temperature for the next batch of items. All the while, she feels that thoughtful gaze on her. She turns. “What?” 

“Nothin’.” Misty replies hurriedly. 

Her eyes narrow. “You were watching me. Do I have something on my face?”  

“No.”  

There’s a temptation to continue, to push and push until Misty comes out with it. Instead, she ducks her head in her own moment of contemplation.  

When she lifts it again, Misty is rifling through the open packets once more.  

Cordelia sighs, nearing the girl. “I just told you to stop eating everything.” Mirth is plastered over her words, drawing Misty’s attention toward her with a light smile.  

“I thought you wanted me to bake for ya?” she turns, everything about her expression inviting and enough to have Cordelia’s smile growing, too.  

She leans in closer, unable to stop herself. Her hands wrap around Misty’s upper arm so she can bring herself flush against the girl. “What are you making?” Excitement begins to fill to the room. She spies some yeast in Misty’s hand, a quizzing expression making itself at home on her face.  

Misty appears to revel in it, encouraging the girl to work at a faster pace. “You’ll see.”  

That doesn’t leave Cordelia much of a choice other than to observe. She plays some music on her phone at Misty’s request, watching as tuneful hums come from the girl who works diligently. She is intent as ever, strong hands moulding together what appears to be some kind of dough. The sticky substance is kneaded repetitively, coating every inch of her arms, her wrists, and somehow ending up in a few strands of her hair. 

“How are you doing this without a recipe?” she chuckles after a few minutes of comfortable silence, now that Misty’s ball of dough is smoothing out between her fingers.  

She continues the steady movement as she answers. “I’ve made these more times than I can count.”  

Fondness fills in the lines of her features. “Yeah?”  

“Hmm. My mom taught me how to make ‘em.”  

Cordelia stills at the mention of Misty’s mother, eyes warily drawing over her, relieved to see no sadness tinging the girl’s expression. “That’s nice. Did you bake a lot with her?” 

“Yeah. She used to say it was one of the only things that would keep me still.” Her smile grows. “Plus, I like eatin’ the stuff afterwards so that helps.”  

“That is the best part,” she agrees.  

She begins to scroll absentmindedly through her phone, peering up every so often to look at Misty with a smile gracing her lips. It’s almost akin to watching her garden, the way she focuses so hard, her nose wrinkled up and lips puckered delicately. Cordelia finds her attention stolen by her hands though, working away with strength and skill, and to her own horror she finds herself being jealous of the dough under Misty’s ministrations.  

Shaking her head ever so lightly at her own foolishness, she focuses on her own baked goods. The cookies are cool by now, so she boxes them up, leaving out one each for the pair to try, while the cupcakes are rising happily in the oven.  

Intent on keeping her eyes from staring dumbly at Misty’s hands, she sets about making a buttercream. It’s another sweet aroma in the air, so much she fears she’s going to be overwhelmed by them all. Her mouth waters, even if she’s full from dinner.  

She adopts her amicable chatter to take her mind from it. “Hey, did you get any college letters yet?”  

Misty pauses, lifting her gaze. “Two.” She says, “kinda working up the courage to open them.” Her smile falters, only briefly, before she stares right at Cordelia. “What about you?”  

“Yeah, just a few. Not heard back from USC though. That’s the one I’m kinda hoping on.”  

“Is that the one where Fiona went?”  

A nod follows. “Hmm.” She wonders what it would be like to go to the same college as her mother, the place her parents met. The same place that Fiona swears moulded her into the woman she is today. A terrifying woman, but one that Cordelia thinks is worthy of admiration, most of the time. How she wishes she had her mother’s resolve. 

As Misty continues, now moving her dough into a bowl and covering it with saran wrap, Cordelia is pulled from her thoughts. “Wouldn’t it be weird goin’ to the same place as your mom?”  

She pauses, then shrugs. “I don’t know. Guess I’ll find out if I get in.”  

“I just want to hear from UCLA.” She confesses quietly. “Real bad.” Her smile that follows is one of those half ones and a series of tiny chuckles follow. “It’s givin’ me anxiety just thinkin’ about it. Don’t even know if I’ll be able to open the letter when I get it.”  

Cordelia sighs, knowing that feeling all too well. An idea pops into her head, one that bubbles hopefully inside of her. “Hey, why don’t we open them together?” She poses. “When we both have them. I think I’d feel better if you were there.”  

She doesn’t give a shred of thought to the idea that one of them might not get into their preferred college, or both of them, but instead focuses on the fact there is a  chance  they could. And that would mean they’d both be going to LA. With that, a whole host of possibilities flitter about her excitedly.  

The most dangerous one being that she could convince the Cajun to be her roommate, and scenes like they’re in now would become the normal every day.  

Misty practically jumps at the idea, bouncing on her feet until she’s nearing Cordelia again. “Yeah. Let’s do that!” Her arms wrap around Cordelia in a loose hug, just for a few seconds. “We can be each other’s good luck charms.” Those words shouldn’t be enough to send the older blonde into a spiral, but they are. She longs for Misty’s arms as they withdraw.  

“Yeah.” She agrees.  

Though her arms are no longer embracing her, Misty lingers. “Told you, you always know the right thing to say.” 

Transported back to the conversation from a few days ago. In that moment, her expression must change, or her posture, or even the air that sits around. Because Misty pulls back with a perceptive stare, fixated on her. “What?” she laughs nervously.  

“Oh, just thinking.” she shrugs.  

Misty’s brows rise. “About?” When silence lingers, Misty nudges her slightly. “Hey, you said we were gonna be honest with each other.” She uses the promise to her advantage, grinning. “So, spill.”  

“Honestly?” 

The Cajun gives a series of hurried nods.  

She clears her throat. “I was thinking about the other day.”  

“What about it?”  

Misty’s sudden shifting is obvious, features beginning to droop with concern. She’s all too eager to put that to rest, reaching out until her hand connects with Misty’s arm. “You seem happier today.” she points out in earnest.  

Surprise is evident on her face, a delicate kind of surprise that warms the palette of her skin.  

Her chest heaves with a drawn sigh. “I am happier.” She says, “Monday was. . . I was just overwhelmed, I think. A lot happened and my head was kinda all over the place.” Misty smacks her lips together thoughtfully. 

“And it’s not now?” 

“Nah,” she says, “it still is. But I don’t feel so crappy right now.” 

With a pained smile, she squeezes Misty’s arm in what she hopes is comfort. It works, she thinks, because Misty doesn’t wear that air of dejection about her. “Good.” She announces. Even though its small, it is still something.  

All she wishes now is for Misty to be able to make sense of her thoughts, to be at peace with them, whatever they may be. Her arm hand rises to catch Misty just below the elbow. Her touch is faint and soft, and as either hand migrates lower on the sensitive skin of Misty’s arms, she sees her visibly shudder.  

Misty doesn’t shy away from her hands, but rather sways that little bit closer and brings with her that flowery scent. “Thanks, Delia.”  

“What are you thanking me for?” she chuckles.  

The Cajun peers down, eyelashes fluttering against her porcelain cheeks. She is looking at where they are joined by Cordelia’s firm hold, and Cordelia follows suit in her study. In turn, she grins at Misty’s messy fingers. Dough stubbornly clings to them, while flour has travelled all the way up her forearm.  

She no longer waits for an answer and speaks once more. “You should probably wash your hands.” She grins, “before you get everything covered in flour.” Already, some of it has made its way onto the lower half of her dress.  

“Hmm, guess so.”  

As she remains still, Cordelia’s expression grows in perplex.  

Until, that is, Misty smirks in a way that sends her heart aflutter. “Kinda need you to let go of me to do that.” 

Instantly, her face flashes red. The embarrassment burns, forcing her to reel back from Misty and look in the other direction. But Misty takes it in her stride, retreating to the sink and allowing Cordelia her moment to calm down. She hears the sound of the faucet running, and Misty muttering under her breath as she furiously scrubs under her fingernails.  

She busies herself with checking on the cupcakes, twisting in Misty’s direction as her actions take longer than she’d expected.  

The Cajun is observing where dough has attached itself to the ties on her wrists, stuck to all of the microfibres of the fabric with apparently no desire to let go. Misty’s frown persists, and no amount of scrubbing works to remove it all. She watches the struggle in sympathy, then feels words slipping from her lips without the opportunity to be filtered. “Do you want me to wash those for you?” 

Misty’s damp hands snap down beside her.  

A sigh flows from Cordelia; she thought they were past this.  

“I - um. . .”  

She worries her lip between her teeth. “I was just offering. . .” 

But Misty seems to deliberate, sensing the way that Cordelia is slipping, just so slightly. After a beat, she nods. “Actually, if you could.” Her eyes move about, reluctant to settle on anything. “If this stuff goes dry, I ain’t ever goin’ to get it out.”  

And that’s when fingers are reaches for the ties, awkwardly trying to tug them apart.  

Once again, Cordelia finds herself stepping in. “Here.” She breathes, “let me.” She isn’t sure if it’s a question or not, and Misty doesn’t really answer, so it mustn’t be. But neither does the Cajun move away as Cordelia begins to take away the flour covered material in a slow series of movements.  

As the black is taken away, it quickly reveals the alabaster skin beneath. It feels almost too intimate to be true, the world too still for all of those few seconds. She doesn’t comment on the cuts that are now on show for her to see, that Misty has allowed her to see. Misty is watching her carefully, and in turn she looks to her wrists, a thumb gazing over the newest cut, maybe a week old.  

She ignores the tightness in her chest and tries to remind herself that they look a hell of a lot better than the first time she’d seen then.  

Blinking the water away from her eyes, she lowers Misty’s wrists from her caring hands. “I’ll be right back.” She says, making her way to the laundry.  

Misty nods, pulling in a shuddering breath. Like she’s been holding it for the past few minutes.  

When Cordelia gets back, having settled her racing pulse in the small reprieve of the walk to the laundry room, she finds Misty sat on one of the kitchen stools, staring down at her own wrists in upset. Her head snaps up as she hears Cordelia’s footsteps.  

“Come on,” she smiles softly, wanting to take Misty’s mind off it. And her own, too. “Help me clean up?”  

She does. And despite the previous hint of sadness in the air, light begins to fill the room once more. They talk of school and plan to go to the botanical gardens, and sit eating the cookies that they’d made together earlier that night. She watches the crumbs gather in the corner of Misty’s mouth, resisting the urge to wipe them away.  

But as she’s in the middle of that thought, Misty is jumping onto her feet and readying to finish her own baking. Turns out, she’s making beignets, filling the insides the chocolate and soon frying them while licking her lips every so often. 

Completely in her element, she is smiling once more. And she  does  look happier, Cordelia thinks. Especially as she’s dusting the finished pastries with powdered sugar and pushing one toward Cordelia with anticipation in her pretty blue eyes.  

Cordelia basks in her happiness in that moment, surrounded by her own. It grows when she takes her first bite of the hot beignet, getting a mouthful of sweet dough and soft chocolate that coats her tongue. The way that Misty regards her, not a falter in her gaze, slows her chewing and halts a response.  

She wishes that the Cajun would look at her like that all of the time.  

“Do you like it?” She asks nervously.  

After another few seconds of chewing, she smiles around a swallow. “This might be the best beignet I’ve ever had.” She insists, not a shred of a lie.  

“Oh, you’re just sayin’ that.”  

She shakes her head, grinning. “No, I mean it, Misty.” One more bite follows, larger this time, and another appreciate hum. “It’s incredible. It was definitely worth the wait.”  

Misty just looks like all her Christmases have come at once. She proudly takes a bite of the pastry she made for herself, still watching Cordelia. “I’m glad,” she decides. And they smile at each other over the island, a smile that says more than words ever could. For a moment, she wonders how lucky she is to have Misty as her best friend.  

Even if she already feels full, she squeezes in another one of the beignets because they’re just so good. Her stomach sits heavy the entire drive to Misty’s, but she’s smiling either way. Tonight has been a good night.  

The sky above them, a hazy sea of pinks and purples that try to pull her attention away from the road. Misty is quiet, calm, though she does turn to her mid-way through the drive and gives a nervous smile. “So, I threw that guy’s number away.” 

“Oh?”   

She wants to say more; so, so much more. Only, that would give all of her feelings away far too easily.  

Turning briefly, she catches Misty’s gaze. “You were right.” 

“I was?” 

“Yeah, I don’t think I wanna see him again.”  

Cordelia breathes the longest sigh of relief she’s ever given in her life.  

“And I certainly don’t want him to kiss me again, sober or drunk.”  

She nods. Outwards, she stays neutral, but there’s a party beginning to sound in her pleased mind. She continues with more words that she hopes are wise, that can maybe satiate any worry Misty might be having from her bad experience. “I’m sure one day you’ll find someone that you’ll enjoy kissing.” Cordelia offers, then adds with a growing smile that she wishes would reach her eyes as she thinks of Misty kissing someone else. Someone that isn’t her. “Fireworks and all.” 

So focused on driving, she doesn’t see the way that Misty is staring at her with intense longing. “Yeah.” She agrees quietly. “I hope so.”  

She does look to Misty now, just as her eyes are darting away. A hand reaches out to squeeze her knee. And that’s it. All they need. The small act of support has Misty smiling again. 

The radio covers the silence, not the normal stuff either would listen to, but enough for her to tap her fingers against the steering wheel to. 

By the time they’re a few minutes away from Misty’s, surrounded by dense swampland, the Cajun speaks. “Cordelia?” 

There are those nerves again, hijacking her words. She tilts her head at her. “Hmmm?”  

“Did you wanna come around for dinner some time?” Misty asks, all kinds of timid.  

Cordelia balks, doing a double take to see if she heard the words right. “Dinner?”  

“Hm.” She nods. “I asked my Daddy. An’ he’s okay with it, and my sister said she’d make somethin’ nice. You said you wanted to come. . .” She looks to her with glistening eyes that catch the setting sun in them. “I just thought it would be nice.”  

“You’re inviting me to your house for dinner?” she asks a second time, just to be sure. The mind can play some cruel tricks. 

Misty laughs, though it doesn’t ease her obvious nerves, and Cordelia doesn’t try to question why she’d be nervous of such a thing. Because it might lead her down the regular path of overthinking. She bites her lips to keep the biggest of smiles from them. That same smile that would so easily give away how happy the question has made her.  

Instead, she gives a soft grin. “That sounds nice.” More than nice. It sounds perfect.  

Her eyes brighten. “Yeah?” 

“Yeah.” She nods.  

The two of them stare forward, both grinning like idiots.  

Cordelia breaks the silence after a few moments. “Although you’re definitely going to have to teach me who is who in your family now.”  

Misty’s laugh, so pure and fond, has Cordelia thinking this might be the best day she’s had in a while. Later that night, she might query why Misty’s doing this all of a sudden, why now is the time to invite her. But as it is, right now she’s just going to bask in the moment.