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i wanna wake up with you all in tangles

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Her number limbs somehow have an immeasurable weight to them keep her glued to the spot.  

Staring. 

That’s all she can do. If she had any capability of movement, she'd maybe pinch herself. As it is, her muscles refuse to budge. Only the pupils in her eyes exert with effort – so desperately straining and shocked and trying to make sense of what's right in front of her. Like it's some sort of puzzle.  

But it's not. It's very, very simple. Misty has lesbian porn hidden in her room, and it doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out what that means.  

Her fingers clutch the paper, wrinkled from use. They tighten on it like it's the only thing keeping her anchored into reality right now.  

She doesn’t know what to do. What to think. How on earth is she supposed to approach this situation when she knows the consequences? The ending is already decided; it's apparently up to her to fill in the middle of the story. Unfortunately, she's rather indecisive these days. 

The only thing frightening enough to whip her into action is when she hears the flusher going, following by the scuffle of approaching footsteps.  

Scurrying to hide the magazine back where it had been, she just about manages to regain somewhat of a composure before the door creaks open. Misty is smiling again, the ease seeping back into her personality. 

Cordelia wishes she could say the same for herself; she's about as tight would as a spring right now. Teaming to release, to speak, to do anything

Her capabilities flounder and struggle, and her eyes, burned with the images from the magazine, find Misty's. “Why are you on the floor?” She drawls, smirking. It hangs lower when she spies Cordelia's flustered appearance. 

“I dropped my phone.” She pushes out, too quick. Too strained.  

At least she isn’t lying, and that makes guilt sit less thickly to the lining of her stomach. Misty moves closer, only having to take a couple of steps to close the gap between them. In that time, she convinces herself that her friend can tell the slight differences in the room, that she can hear the raspy way Cordelia's breath pulls through her teeth. She always seems so in tuned to the small changes in the air, so why not now? 

But Misty is sitting on the bed, forcing her to crane her neck in order to stare up at her. “You are so clumsy.” She chuckles, not unkindly. Her eyes dip down to the phone, lay abandon in favor of what she’d found – and now hidden from view. “You ain’t broke it, I hope?” 

Biting her lip, she shakes her head, and wonders if she'll ever be able to let her eyes match Misty's stares. She can’t; the fear that she'll see those images burned back in her retinas paralysing her to the spot.  

There’s a long beat. Her brother's hollering continues in an increasingly frustrated manner. Sensitive ears catch the huffs that Misty displays in response. 

Cordelia swallows against a scratchy, dry throat, and steadies her own respiration.  

“You comfy down there?” 

She blinks profusely, as if Misty’s words were blurted out in another language. 

Bewilderment hijacks her features, doing a not so delicate dance across the girl's expression. Eyebrows rise gently in question. 

“I - " 

Misty's sudden laughter is a stark sound against the blood pulsing around her ear canals. “What’s wrong?” Even through the humor, she can hear the concern in her voice. It lies dormant; quiet and patient. 

“Nothing.” She squeaks. 

Her heavy arms move languidly to pull herself upwards by the bed frame, where she tries not to let herself flush under Misty’s peering. She fails. But then she’s sat next to her friend, back against the cold wall, and legs dangling down next to hers. Everything is wrong. She looks to Misty in what she fears is pained love. I don’t know how to help you.   

She resists the desires that plague her mind, those that tell her to wrap Misty in her arms and embrace her protectively. Like they might be able to keep her away from the dangers of the world. Cordelia stares down to the mattress beneath them, to where Misty's secret remains hidden away. Her insides run cold at the thought.  

Heart aching, she watches her from the corner of her eyes. A pensive state washes over her. It spreads to Misty, who hums and vibrates with unsaid thoughts. Does she tell her what she found? The last time she'd confronted Misty over the cuts on her wrists had gone so badly that the idea stalls in the early stages of development. Still, she thinks, they'd gotten through it, hadn’t they? Sure, their friendship got rocked, but it’s not always plain sailing. Sometimes you've got to get through the storm to find dry land.  

She opens her mouth to speak, the words lingering between her lips.  

But Misty beats her to it, tilting her way ever so slightly. “You wanna go home or somethin’?” She rolls the material of her dress between her fingers.  

“No.” She shakes her head. “Why would you think that?” 

“I dunno. You've gone all weird again. Like before.” Her head dips, taking her gaze alone with it, but that doesn’t stop Cordelia from catching the quirk of Misty’s lips. “You thinkin’ about me again?” 

The nonchalant way it's asked totally contrasts the spasm it sends Cordelia into. Strangely, it's not panic or strangled replies that follows. But short laughter. “Always.” She reaches over and takes that fidgeting hand in hers. “You live rent free in my thoughts.” 

“I pay you in friendship, don’t I?” 

“Hmm.” She starts, mind half on their conversation and the other half deliberating her choices. The split in contemplation begins a chronic headache at her temples. “Guess so.” 

Misty’s head snaps up now, eyes flashing slightly wider. “ Ya guess so? ” Rather quickly, she senses the humor in Cordelia's own expression, the same humor she's using to try and ebb away the tight feeling in her chest. “Oh.” She relaxes. “Thought you were sayin’ my friendship ain’t good enough for a second there.” 

“Wouldn’t dream of it.” She lets a smile push its way to her lips.  

That hand around Misty's squeezes around the cold one, fingers half curled. It almost reminds her of how they'd held hands under the table at dinner, how the act has felt so intimate and new. “Good.” She says sweetly. 

But the joy in her face falters as Tommy's yelling continues to slip in from under the door. It's not the only noise disturbing their peace; on one wall, loud music pulses against her ears, and the other side brings with it hushed voices and a fussing baby. Misty frowns, being forced into action by the symphony of disruptions.  

She sits upright, leaning on her knees, and reaches over to the floor where her own phone and earphones wait patiently. Yanked up in an instant, Misty is by Cordelia's side. Warmth and softness accompanies her, as the material of her dress rubs up against Cordelia's bare arm.  

Any questioning the older blonde may have dies when Misty begins to scroll through the many music albums to find the perfect one. When she does, surprisingly not Fleetwood mac this time, she turns back up to Cordelia with a timid smile and offers out one of the earphones. It's taken without thought and slipped in where gentle music usurps the noise of the family home.  

Cordelia is grateful for it, eyes closing contently for a moment. Apparently though, the nearby family had served as rather effective distraction, for now her mind swoops back to the rather pressing matter at hand.  

She'd been staring ahead with unfocused eyes for a few moments, but as Misty once again successfully holds her thoughts, she lets her eyes gaze over to her.  

Misty is staring right back. She half expects her to look away, to have that bashfulness flooding over her features. Not this time. The way she relents makes the coil in Cordelia's stomach grow tighter with each passing second. With little consideration for her actions, she shuffles on the bed, leaning  backwards ever so slightly. Her arms move to find Misty’s shoulders, trying not to catch the wires of the earphones.  

Leaning into her touch, Misty lets herself be pulled back. Her head catches just under Cordelia's shoulder, hair tickling every bit of exposed skin in a tantalising sensation. Cordelia hopes Misty doesn’t feel the way her breath catches. If she does, she gives no indication of it, and embraces the hold that Cordelia offers. “Hmm,” the Cajun grins, and then whispers over all the other noise. “You're real comfy.” 

The words dance over Cordelia's collarbone, past the delicate skin of her neck. Their heat and affection scorch her skin. She giggles. “Glad to know.”  

Misty grows more pensive, just for a second, then sighs. “When do ya gotta go?” 

She runs a shaky fingers through Misty's hair, indulging where she shouldn’t. “I can stay a little longer.” 

“Yeah?” 

A hum follows, then her lips twist wryly. “Although I am rather keen to get this chicken smell off of me.” 

Misty's laughs are as delicate as drizzle. “You smell just fine.”  

She flushes on instinct, praying that Misty can’t see it in her proximity. Words become quite redundant after that, for the pair quickly settle into the position and lose themselves in the joy of just each other's company.  

Cordelia doesn’t recognize the music playing, but it brings a smile to her lips. Just as do Misty's appreciative hums as she combs fingers tenderly through her hair.  

This is nice, she thinks. Perfect, almost.  

But the only thing preventing that perfection being reached is the elephant in the room, the questions suffocating her lungs. Sat here, like this, she can convince herself that all that dormant hope might have a chance, that maybe the idea of her and Misty being more than friends doesn’t need to be wrapped in such a shroud of melancholy.  

Because the evidence is sitting right beneath them. And then it flows in the way that Misty snakes an arm around her waist, holding her tighter than she’s ever been held before. Like she's a lifeboat amidst a tempestuous storm.  

Only, Cordelia wishes she knew how to approach the truth. The idea of confronting Misty right now returns, even if it does crush her chest with anxiety. What would she say? Oh, so I happened to find your lesbian porn, let's talk about that. Her teeth grind together in nerves, and a sigh pushes through the tiny gaps. There is no easy answer, she fears. All she wants is the right one for Misty, one where she's not going to retreat and withdraw at the very idea of someone calling her gay.  

Her own arms tighten, and the music no longer calms her.  

Misty's weight seems to have grown heavier over her few minutes of contemplation. She twists her neck to see her eyes closed. “Misty.” She says, hushed. “Are you asleep?” 

There's a beat, then a quiet “nah.” Another pause, a more thoughtful one that brings with it an earnest statement.  “I like my room better when you're here, ya know?” 

It is spoken so softly that she almost doesn’t hear it, but the second those words drift into her ears, she is grinning like a fool.  

Misty continues in that same honest streak. “I was real nervous about tonight.” 

“Why?” She probes, straightening. Misty feels the shift and opens those soft eyes in her direction, still leaning against her.  

“I just was." 

There's a whole host of reasons why, Cordelia thinks. From hearing that it’s the first time Misty has ever brought a friend home, to knowing the girl's trepidation at her family being on display. Yet, it's none of those that apparently burden the Cajun, and she all too easily lets the real reason fall from her parted lips. “I wanted my family to like you.” 

She pulls in a sharp breath while her fingers slow on Misty's scalp. “It doesn’t matter if they like me or not,” she starts diplomatically, despite her heart clenching at the idea of not gaining their approval.  

“But I want them to.” She presses her lips together thoughtfully, then sighs. “I want them to know how amazin' you are.” 

As always with any time Misty compliments her, it sends her heart into overdrive, coursing with adrenaline and no lack of love. “Thanks Misty.” She says gratefully.  

Misty continues to stare at her. “You’re my best friend.”  

“I know.” Laughter pushes where nerves fight her words. “And you're mine.” The easiness of the moment lulls her into content, to a world where things she wouldn’t normally say creep out behind her chuckles. “I love you.” 

Even if she wants to run and hide the second the confession is uttered, it's pretty difficult with Misty glued to her side like this. So she stills, and waits. Then waits some more. As she does, she tries to count every erratic beat of her chest.  

Misty doesn’t share the tightness of her muscles, instead pulling back ever so slightly to take Cordelia in fully. There's a half smile on her lips that sits there so stunningly she wishes it would make home on the spot. Azure eyes meet hers, then dip in favor of staring at the floral patterns on Cordelia's blouse. 

“I love you too.” She mumbles, words just for Cordelia. She’ll keep each and every one of them with fondness.  

The moment is bittersweet, Misty’s words both enough to enhance how besotted she is, but also serve to remind her that they are spoken in friendship. It’s not the love that she so craves. 

Maybe one day it could be. Maybe if she could be brave enough to tell Misty what she knows. Things might change, for the better. She forces herself not to consider that they might change for the worst, shooing that negativity intently.  

She stares to Misty, who is continuing to smile at her before that head returns to Cordelia's shoulder with a content sigh.  

So close to the Cajun like this, setting every nerve of her body on fire, she thinks that she just might be willing to take a risk on maybe. 

... 

Her indecisiveness lingers all throughout the visit, and even as Misty walks her the short distance back to her car. She insists that she doesn’t have to, but the girl refuses, standing with her until they hover by the vehicle.  

Darkness has fully blanketed over the sky now, allowing only moonlight to guide their way.  

Seeing Misty bathed in its glow is almost enough to calm her mind. Almost. The second her friend pulls her in for a tight hug, that voice appears in the back of her mind again.  

Tell her you know. Tell her!  

“Are you okay?” 

She blinks, finding Misty has pulled away and now regards her with furrowed brows. “Misty, I - " Cordelia cuts herself short, nauseous. This feels all too similar to when she'd tried to confront Misty about cutting herself. That same guilt swills now. How has she not learned her lesson? 

But Misty is tilting her head and letting a smile hang on her lips. “Cat got your tongue?” 

Faint laughter follows. “I've had a really good night.” She deflects as courage slips from her grasp.  

“Yeah, you survived my family.” Her nose crinkles with her grin. ““You deserve a medal.” 

“I'll be waiting for it.” She grins, basking in joy rather than the thick air that she was swallowing moments ago. Clearing her throat, she locks eyes with Misty. “I'll see you Monday then?” 

She nods eagerly. “Uh huh.” 

Unlocking her car, she opens the door and then considers climbing in. As she does, she can feel Misty's eyes on her the entire time. “Don’t forget we have another biology test.” She adds quickly. 

Misty's liberal eye roll summons a series of chuckles. “How could I?” Then, under her breath, she mutters. “I'm sick of tests.”  

“Just think,” she starts in daring hopefulness, “this time next year we could be doing tests as college students.”  

She sighs, fingers holding onto the top of the open door. “That's kinda scary.”  

“I know.” She agrees, even if she is grinning. The idea seems to be stealing air from her lungs, because when she looks to Misty she feels short of breath. But she doesn’t have a moment to dwell on it as she catches sight of the time. “Well, I better go before it gets too late.” 

Misty nods, even if her lips part, poised to speak. She hangs on for a moment before turning on the engine, doing so when nothing comes of Misty's movements.  

And as she finally drives away, with the sight of her friend in the rear view mirror, she wonders what on earth she's going to do. 

... 

This is what brings her to Fiona late on Sunday night, with a quake in her bones and sweat sitting heavily on her palms.  

Her mother is sat in the dining room, surrounded by documents, and with the laptop screen reflected in her glasses. When she spies Cordelia, she slows in her movements, but doesn’t stop. 

Cordelia lingers, that edge all too evident in her expression and easy for someone as shrewd as Fiona to pick up. Her mother heaves in a sigh, then snatches the glasses from her face and gives Cordelia a pointed look. “Well, come out with it then.” 

She licks her lips nervously, stepping further into the room. “Can I ask you something?”  

This stumps Fiona. Understandably so. Cordelia doesn’t remember any time she's ever sought advice from her mother, and surely the way she bounces with pensive energy is a little jarring. Even so, Fiona takes it in her stride. “I suppose so.” 

That’s all the invitation she needs to park herself in the chair right across from her mother, staring intently.  

“My, you're keen.” She comments, setting a dark look on the girl at the way she'd scraped the chair across the expensive floor.  

She finds herself biting at her lip, worrying the sensitive skin.  It gives a few moments to gather her words as she sits under Fiona's withering eyes. “I don’t know what to do.”  

Fiona's light skin suddenly becomes thick with lines of confusion. “About?” 

“Um. . .” 

“Jesus Christ, just say it.” The lack of delicate patience makes Cordelia bristle, but maybe it’s a push that she needs.  

“It's about a friend." She blurts out. 

Fiona fully takes her attention away from her work now, twisting ever so slightly so she can lean her chin in her hand as she observes her daughter. “Go on.” 

“I – I. . . suppose I found something out about someone.” She says, hating how her mouth is starting to run dry. “Something that they don’t want anyone to know. . .do I talk to them about it?” 

Fiona offers merely a shrug, curt and decisive. “Well, why wouldn’t you?” 

The way that her reaction is so quick, needing no time to ponder where Cordelia has spent two sleepless nights infuriates her. How did she not inherit this trait from Fiona?! Instead, she finds herself frowning and slumping ever so slightly. “Because I’m scared.” 

“Scared?” She repeats, scoffing. “So?” 

Cordelia tries to keep herself straight under the judgemental regard, but it’s hard not to shrink. The idea of fear to her mother is clearly absurd, but she knows it to be all too true; how it churns easily in the depths of her stomach. “So,” Cordelia feels her jaw tighten, “what if I tell them and it ruins everything?” 

Now, Fiona does take a moment to contemplate, eyes shining with knowing. “What would it ruin?” 

The scratchiness of her throat makes her eyes water. She suddenly finds herself unable to answer, lost in the idea that telling Misty the truth is disastrous. 

“Cordelia.” Her mother pushes, as authoritative as ever.  

“I’m just really scared.” She repeats, hating how her voice heightens an octave in her upset.  

The judgement shifts to something else. Pity? Sympathy? One of which she’s very rarely seen excluded from Fiona. “Look, I’m not exactly a good example for this, but I think you need to tell her the truth.” 

She looks to the table. “But what if she hates me?” Cordelia pictures the way that Misty looks at Madison when she even hints at her sexuality, and she would do anything to never have it aimed her way. 

“Oh please. That girl worships the ground that you walk on.”  

Cordelia’s head snaps back up, where she looks to her mother through the wateriness. “What?” 

“Misty.” She states. “That  is  who you're talking about, right?” 

“How did you know?” 

There’s a head shake and an eye roll. “Honestly, you are so dense sometimes, Cordelia. I wonder if you're actually mine.”  

She ignores the jab of hurt that sends between her ribs, and continues her scrutiny of the woman in front of her. She tries to catch every subtle eye movement, how her lips twitches. It’s an expression of knowing, and she wishes she would share in that knowledge with her.  

“What are you talking about?” 

“Oh lord.” The hand that was on her chin now lets her forehead settle in it just for a moment. “Are you blind?” 

“No.” She grumbles. 

Fiona pauses, now letting amusement settle on her features. “I’m not so certain.” 

“Can you stop being so damn cryptic and just tell me what you mean, mom?” 

“Hey. Don’t you talk to me like that.” A pointed finger is sent her way, a warning. But Cordelia still sits with dark, befuddled eyes and a weight about her. “I'm just trying to help.” 

“Well then help.” She dips her head. “Please.” 

Fiona leans back, sucking in a long, drawn breath. “Tell her.” 

She winces. “You think I should?” 

“What have you got to lose?” 

“Did you not hear me when I said everything?” She emphasises in a hiss. All too many consequences are offered from her brain, and she doesn’t like a single one of them. 

Another pointed look, one that tugs the annoyance from Cordelia. “How about this then?” She begins to pose. “What have you got to gain? The both of you.” 

Cordelia freezes with her thoughts, on overdrive as always. She doesn’t dare tell her mother that if everything miraculously worked out that it would be more than everything. It would be all she's ever wanted. That doesn’t seem necessary to say out loud; maybe Fiona can reach into her mind and tug that notion out of there. Because she's smiling, not in the smarmy way that Cordelia sees aimed at acquaintances of the family. This is a true and genuine smile that makes Cordelia look at her mother in a different way. 

“Thought so.” She now smirks. 

“What if - " 

“Stop with the what ifs and this and that.” She slowly waves it away with a hand. “Sometimes, Delia, you've got to do things that scare you.” 

And scare her it does, but Fiona's words do take root, like a tiny seed that settles inside of her and clutches away. She urges it to stay, to be with her even when her mother physically can’t be.  

She doesn’t make to protest now. She only sits and digests the advice in a sobering manner, even while Fiona grows bored and returns back to the work at hand. As Cordelia makes to stand, her eyes lift and she calls her name in an uncharacteristically gentle manner. “I wouldn’t worry so much if I were you. Your friend would never hate you.” 

“Why would you say that?” She questions, quiet and curious.  

Eyes narrow. “Because she's very clearly in love with you.” 

The room suddenly shrinks, the heat in the air amplifies and swamps the insides of her lungs. As time comes to a standstill, Cordelia contemplates the idea that she might never have a steady heartbeat ever again. “What?” she chokes out.  

“So you are that dense.” She rolls her eyes, reaching out for a cigarette as if she's the one who needs a stress relief from this conversation. 

Cordelia continues to gawp at her. “I - she's not. . .she. . .” 

“Sweetheart. I love you. But you are an idiot.”  

As she speaks, Cordelia is steadying herself on the nearest wall and feeling a weakness in her bones. “You think Misty is in love with me?”  

“Cordelia, the girl practically lives here. And the way she looks at you. . .” 

This isn’t like when Madison says these things, intended to taunt and get a rise out of her. They're spoken with honesty, with a tone that says “how the hell haven’t you realized?” Perhaps she's been as oblivious as Misty has been her to feelings. Or maybe Fiona is wrong. But she finds herself hoping and praying that she isn’t.  

She wants those words to be unequivocally true and, all of a sudden, she finds the desire to tell Misty the truth all too tempting.  

Cordelia leaves then, returning to the safety of her room. Her thoughts follow her. They hold a different weight to them now, one that seems all too arbitrary to try and comprehend. But try she does. Words echo around her skull as she lays on the bed, making her think and think until everything is jumbled.  

All but one thing.  

Fiona's comment. She's very clearly in love with you.   

Is she? Is Cordelia really so oblivious to this, or has she just willed herself not to see it? To ignore the glances and the smiles and the lingering touches. Why would she do that? Why would she forcefully bypass the thing that she so desperately wants?  

But the more she thinks about it, the more she realizes that maybe the thought of Misty reciprocating her feelings is terrifying.  

Once they're both out there, there is no going back, no retreat to a cushy friendship. It’s all or nothing. And maybe she’s scared that Misty’s situation might push her toward the latter. 

She shudders at the thought, trying to lose herself in studying. 

Still, in the back of her mind, there is some resolve, she thinks. A decision, finally. It makes her tremble like there's an earthquake inside her, or maybe a volcano. Seeing as an eruption certainly seems imminent.  

All she knows is that she's going to do it. She is going to tell Misty what she knows, and maybe they can figure out the rest from there.  

But she’s really, really fucking petrified. 

And it’s that fear that carries her into a restless slumber on that Sunday night, with contradicting dreams of what her confessions could potentially bring for their future.