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i wanna wake up with you all in tangles

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Monday brings with it just as much anxiety as she’s been expecting, so much that she skips breakfast and makes to hurry to school. Just as she’s slipping shoes on at the front door, she halts. The mail is already there, sat in the basket where it awaits some attention, and the sight of one letter in particular makes her nerves sky rocket.  

She snaps out a hand to grab it, shifting the USC letter between her fingers to gauge the weight, to somehow see if she can tell its contents just by holding it. A part of her wants to rip it open right there and then, until she remembers her promise to Misty. It forces her movements to still, though her eyes still burn into the paper.  

The envelope is placed neatly in between one of her textbooks. Saved for later. Maybe tomorrow. Or the day after.  

Cordelia isn’t quite sure how many heart pulsing activities she can cope with in one day. 

Even if it is out of sight, the letter sits on her mind the entire way to school, and acts as a reprieve from what else she has to do. What she’s going to make herself do, despite the abyss that her insides are currently experiencing. She hurries into school with the hopes that people and work will keep her mind occupied. That is, until she takes the cold, deep plunge into talking to Misty.  

She hasn’t even decided  where  she’s going to do it. At school, or in the safety of a more secluded spot?  

Any thought is tugged from her mind as she hears someone calling her name, then smiles to find Zoe just beside her. “Hey.”  

“Good weekend?”  

This gives her pause. In the span of two days, she’s come to the revelation that Misty is most probably gay and possibly has feelings for her. She gulps, then nods. “Yeah, it was nice.”  

Zoe leans against the row of lockers, watching her. “Did you do anything fun?” 

“Oh, you know me. I just studied and did some gardening.” She turns away from Zoe to pull books from her locker, then adds quietly. “I went to Misty’s house for dinner, too.”  

Her friend’s smile grows into an irreplaceable grin. “Ah. Well that makes sense now.” 

“What does?” She asks, face twisting in confusion. 

“Why Misty is walking around like it’s the happiest day of her life.”  

Cordelia feels her book slip from her grasp at that, plummeting to the hard floor where it clatters for all to hear. She mumbles a curse under her breath and crouches down to grab it. Zoe's eyes are intent on her still, but she avoids them. She avoids what Zoe is hinting at altogether, the same notion that Fiona suggested to her last night. “You okay?” Zoe smiles gently, caring.  

“Yeah,” She laughs in turn, shrugging. “Butterfingers, you know?” 

She nods, unable to deny that. 

And thankfully, all thoughts of Misty are relieved for now, as she swoops into questions about their trigonometry homework. Not exactly her favorite thing to talk about but it does the trick. She successfully gets through the morning with only a lingering worry saddled on her shoulders. Not enough to weigh her down, but noticeable.  

She gathers a quick lunch on her way to the classroom, stomach gurgling from a lack of breakfast. Coco walks by her side, jabbering on about a party she and Madison had snuck into over the weekend. “You should have come!” She announces giddily. 

“It's okay. It doesn’t exactly sound like my thing.”  

“Oh, don’t be a bore.” Coco laughs, nudging her gently 

She scoffs. “I am not a bore!”  

They slow in front of the classroom, where her fingers begin to curl around the handle. “You are choosing to garden in your lunch hour.”  

“What's wrong with that?” She finds herself bristling at anyone mocking her hobby.  

“I just - it's kinda what an old lady would do.”  

Offering a roll of her eyes, she opens the door only slightly. She can hear movement in there already, and assumes it’s Misty. “Thanks, Co.” Her dry response comes, earning an apologetic smile from her friend. 

“I don’t mean it like that.”  

She chuckles, not offended. Not really. Being surrounded by plants and nature is far more appealing than the shenanigans that Coco and Madison appear to get up to on a weekly basis. “It's fine.” A soft shake of her head follows. “My mom always says I'm an old soul at heart.” 

Coco's face scrunches with a smile, and she takes that opportunity to bid her goodbye. She enters the classroom in haste, finding Misty over by the chrysanthemums with her head tilted slightly in the direction of the door. She snaps it forward when she sees her, and summons chuckles from Cordelia. “You can stop listening.” The older blonde says, “she's gone.” 

“You're not boring.” Misty confirms for her after a beat, placing down trimmers to face her fully, a hand on her hip.  

Cordelia grins in appreciation. “You might be the only one that thinks that." 

“Don’t make it any less true.” There’s an assurance in her words that Cordelia enjoys, that she aches to keep in her heart. She finds herself staring at Misty for too long, all her repressed thoughts and intentions making themselves known again. 

“Thanks.” She says with a timid smile. Misty stares at those lips for a few seconds, she notices. Has she ever done that before? The embers of fire begin to burn in her stomach. Cordelia finds herself suddenly hyperaware of every twitch in Misty’s muscles, of where her pupils migrate to. Maybe Cordelia's scrutiny grows too intense, seeing as Misty turns back to the plants with pink cheeks.  

Fuck

She dares to dream that maybe Fiona is right for a second. Even if it’s not love; even just a crush. That’s something. And she clutches onto it with all she's got. Slowly padding across the room, she sits herself down at the bench next to where Misty is working.  

Staring back at her are empty food wrappers, and she finds an affectionate smirk following. “Hungry?” she pokes up a brow. 

Misty only grins back, tilting her head and showing a lack of sheepishness. “Not anymore.”  

With a gentle smile, she begins to eat her own lunch with her gaze kept firmly on Misty, even if she tries to use the guise of her phone. She knows that she just needs to start talking, to take that first step, but anything that her brain can come up with only seems lame and ill prepared. Not the heartfelt words she wants to let Misty know that everything is going to be okay. 

Misty is humming away, gardening and singing with all the grace of a cartoon princess. Her hair, for once, is up, set in a long braid that curls over her left shoulder and a few strands hanging loosely around her face. Enough to take Cordelia's breath away. Her words, too, apparently.  

But then there's a drop in the calming noises from Misty, and Cordelia focuses her otherwise starry eyes on her friend. “You're starin'.” Misty says, teeth catching hold of her lip. 

“I'm not.” She pulls back, mystified, and wearing a deep growing shade of pink.  

“Do I have somethin’ on my face?”  

Cordelia sucks in a shuddery breath. “No.” 

The Cajun tears her gaze away, still smirking. If only she knew how such an expression is causing a flutter in Cordelia's chest. With it, she successfully forces out the words that the older blonde had been too scared to let loose. “Can we talk?” She says, noting how they fly out with haste, probably enough to send anyone into a panic.  

Anyone like Misty, whose eyes widen in confusion. “Talk?” 

She gulps. “Y – yeah.” 

“Sure.” A tongue darts over her lips nervously. “About what?” 

“Not here.” Cordelia decides on reflex, ignoring the question. For one, a glance at the door shows this is a far too public place to have such a serious discussion, and two, if she begins to hint at her intended topic, she fears Misty might back out. “After school,” she continues with the attempt of a reassuring smile that Misty stares to blankly. 

There is hesitation, more uncertainty, but Misty can’t seem to deny her what she wants. “You'll have to wait until I've finished track.”  

“That's okay.” Cordelia continues her theme of hurried words, of breathlessness. And Misty stops in all her movements to regard her with a paling expression.  

Her fingers reach for the nearest object, a lone pen, and rolls it between them. “Is everythin' okay?” She’s watching her carefully, even if those eyes appear like they want to scurry.  

“Of course it is.” She tries to make the calm in her voice meet her expression, but it doesn’t, and Misty appears more concerned with each passing second. “You don’t need to worry.” 

The words are fruitless, both know. 

Misty’s lips twist into a humorless curl. “Are you gonna tell me that you're leavin’ me for a new best friend?”  

A strangled noise fights against her constricting throat. “Yes." She jokes, because that’s far easier than the truth. “I’m trading you in for Madison.” A smirk is flashed Misty's way, alongside a joking shrug. “Sorry, Misty.”  

The tension slips from her muscles, then she reaches out to push at Cordelia's shoulder. “Don’t you dare.”  

She laughs, wondering how the world can feel so light and yet so heavy at the same time. “I wouldn’t. I promise. Can you imagine being Madison's best friend? I'd lose my mind.” 

Giggling at the idea, Misty scoots her own stool closer to Cordelia and perches herself on it. Even now, she sits higher than the girl, but her eyes peer down at her food. “You gonna finish that?”  

“I was planning on it.” She chuckles, watching the disappointment skittering across Misty’s azure eyes. That is all the convincing she needs to rip the sandwich in half and hold outside bigger piece to her friend. “Here.”  

“You are the best, Delia.” Misty grins around a generous mouthful. Some crumbs fall from the corners, but her hand sweeps up to push them back in between her lips. They hold her as a rapt audience, and when Misty catches, that blush returns. 

That's twice now. Cordelia begins to debate if she's color blind and has never been able to notice the transformation in hue on Misty’s face before. She half stands, reaching for the watering can that hasn’t been used yet and decides that her mind is best kept busy. The plants greedily gulp at the moisture, having spent a whole two days with a lack thereof.  

“Who do you think is gonna look after the plants when we're gone?” Misty suddenly poses.  

Cordelia turns, heading tilting softly. Her hair falls around her face like a waterfall. “Some of the younger girls in the club will do, I suppose." 

A look of distaste follows, summoning chortles from the older blonde. 

“What are you looking at me like that for?” She smirks. 

Misty shoves the last bite of food between her lips, talking as she chews thoughtfully. “What if they don’t look after the plants right?” 

Some bigger, half chewed crumbs escape now, but Misty catches them in her hand.  

Her question gets skipped over in favor of Cordelia tutting. “You are so gross sometimes.” She laughs, ever so fondly.  

“What do ya mean?” 

She’s smiling back, unsure of why she's brought joy to Cordelia’s eyes, but seemingly proud nonetheless. Misty wipes her mouth with the back of her hand in one long sweep. “You're not supposed to talk with your mouth full.” Cordelia points out, far more well spoken than she'd intended it to be. She gapes at the thought that she sounds like her grandmother. 

“It ain’t hurtin' anyone, is it?” 

“Still gross.” Her teasing grows stronger, a heat tickling across her own cheekbones.  

“Anyway,” Misty begins redirecting the conversation back to the club. “You didn’t answer my question.” 

Pausing, she takes a second to focus her mind, which grows fuzzy with emotion as always in Misty’s wake. “What question?” 

There’s an impatient quirk at the corner of her brow, a narrowing of eyes. All carry a lightness that lets Cordelia know she isn’t really annoyed. “What if they ain’t as good as you are and all the plants die ‘n stuff?” Her shoulders, blanketed with a floral, black shawl, begin to slump. “I can’t bear the thought of that happenin’.” 

Cordelia stills, sighing. “It won’t happen.” When she turns, she finds Misty stroking the leaves of a tomato plants and grins in admiration. Why is Misty so damn adorable?  

Blue eyes find purchase on hers. “You swear?” 

“Yes.” She stops watering the foliage near her and tiptoes back toward Misty where fingers hover over those slouched shoulders. “It’s not just you and me who are capable of watering them you know?” It’s meant to be playful again, to pull a smile from Misty’s lips, but it only seems to add contemplation to the mix.  

“Yeah, sure. Anyone can water ‘em. But that's not just it, is it?” 

She doesn’t speak, but her inquisitive smoulder encourages Misty on, even if she shifts on the spot and lets a nervous smile take rein on her lips. 

“They gotta love the plants, too.” She explains, “And talk to them. Give them the right nutrients and air, and just make sure they're happy. All that sorta stuff.” 

“Misty.” She can barely keep the delighted grin at bay. It grows wider, teeth flashing, and her heartstrings are played like an instrument. “You are talking about the plants like they are children.” 

“Well, they kinda are, ain’t they?” 

“Hmm?” Cordelia has momentarily let her gaze drop to where the drooping shawl reveals Misty's bare shoulders, pale and littered with pretty freckles.  

Misty continues, unaware of her wandering eyes. “The plants,” she confirms, “they're like babies.” A pregnant pause gives time for Misty's eyes to settle on the bench in front of them. “Our babies.” She laughs tightly, then shrugs. “Guess I’m gonna be sad to leave them.” 

“If you want to take any of them home with you,” she smirks, “I won’t say anything.” 

Another shrug follows. 

“What's wrong?” Cordelia squeezes those shoulders in a comforting way, she hopes. It’s hard enough for Misty to notice and twist to look at her.  

“It ain’t the same if it's just me.”  

She moves to sit next to her, but her hands linger on her upper arm now. And she can feel the heat pulsing from Misty; it makes her want to never let go. “You want me to take some too?” She chuckles. “Keep them away from the inexperienced hands of other students?”  

Her eyes half close, gorgeous and glowing, and caught out by Cordelia. “Maybe.” 

That laughter grows, seeming to make the life around them grow brighter and stronger; maybe Misty is right. Maybe the plants do need them. “But how are we gonna decide who gets what?” She continues, losing herself in the joke that has Misty giggling by her side. “Are we going to have to get joint custody over the plants?” 

“Sure.” She agrees, all too easy. Mischief remains in her own gaze. “You can have ‘em through the week and then I’ll take them for the weekend.” Leaning closer, Cordelia can see every freckle and blemish over her otherwise smooth skin. “On holidays, we can take turns.”  

“Why do I have them for longer?” 

“You got more money.” She decides. “Plants are expensive.” 

There is no denying that. Even so, she feels how her lips twist with the want to smile and smirk, and form words of utter love to her friend. In the end, she laughs, and nudges their shoulders together gently.  

It causes Misty to straighten ever so slightly.  

“When did we become people whose lives revolve around their plants?”  

Misty’s mouth parts with a retort, gaze flashing wider. She appears wonderfully bewildered. Cordelia jabs her side again, harder this time, enjoying the feeling of Misty's flesh beneath her touch. “I'm joking.” She leans in closer, too close, because Misty is giving her a look she’s seen too many times before. The same one where she can’t seem to tear her gaze away from Cordelia. Like always, it brings a simmering of heat to her stomach, airy bubbles floating up her throat. But for once, she wonders if it's doing the same to Misty, too. 

Does it sear her insides with love that Cordelia sometimes feels drowned by? Fiona seems to think so. But Cordelia continues to stare, her face evolving in a way that it appears she’s trying to figure out a complicated math problem rather than observe her friend.  

When her eyes refocus, Misty hasn’t budged an inch. Her expression, too, remains stationary on her features.  

She pulls away then, her fingers grazing the skin of Misty’s arm and causing an audible breath. That sound falls on her ears in a hopeful manner; it forces her to think of things she doesn’t want to delude herself in.  

Standing, she increases the gap between them and moves from the heated space around Misty. She thinks perhaps getting carried away with fanciful conversation isn’t exactly the best idea. That being so, Cordelia embraces a far more mundane approach.  

“Hey, did you study for the test next period?”  

Not looking at Misty, she doesn’t see her expression change. But she does hear the quiet, “no,” that follows.  

It surges her into a spin, setting eyes on her friend. “Why not?” Exasperation seeps into her voice; Misty’s terrible study habits are all too frustrating sometimes, and she’s beginning to think the girl would never pick up a textbook out of school if she didn’t make her do it.  

Misty laughs, on her feet as well, but working on the opposite side of the room. The synchronization is done without thought, which is helpful, seeing as Cordelia’s mind is distracted on sending a pointed look to her friend. “I’ve been busy.” She shrugs. “Plus, it’s super borin’ stuff.” 

“You still have to try.”  

She makes a noise close to a grumble. “You sound like Miss Pembroke.”  

There is nothing feigned about the offence that washes over her features, how eyes grow impossibly wide and her mouth forms a large ‘o’. Cordelia can feel the strain in her eyes as she narrows them at Misty. “You take that back.” 

A slightly muddied finger points at the Cajun; a warning.  

One that Misty doesn’t ignore. Instead, she acknowledges it with a smirk and a hand sliding to her thin hip. “Or what?” She gives a tilt of her head, eyes darkening in a way that makes Cordelia’s heart sit at home in her throat. Being on the receiving end of such a look freezes her in the spot, and gives Misty the impression that she’s won. Smugness wraps around her. “Thought so.”  

It may irk her briefly, but she’s playing the long game.  

And when Misty isn’t looking, she uses the watering can to aim a spurt of water in her direction. She gives a noise close to a shriek, but is always up for a fight, whether it be soil or water, and before Cordelia knows it she is sprinkled with water droplets herself. 

Their laughter fills the room with joy, chasing away any impending talks of seriousness.  

When they finally make it to biology, both with dripping hair and fond, glowing smiles, they earn a few funny looks.  

But it doesn’t stop her smiling, especially as she catches Misty’s peeking glances every so often in the middle of the test. 

… 

Some lengthy time in the library gives her to opportunity to dry off, but it does leave her with a cloudy head. It’s filled with history dates and calculus, and all the dull things that she needs to memorize for her few remaining tests.  

Safe to say, when she sees Misty, a smile of relief splits across her face. The Cajun may give her a headache in a very different way, but it’s one that’s familiar, one that she thinks she might feel lost without.  

Sweat sticks to Misty’s forehead, even as she wipes it with the bottom of her shirt. It exposes a lean tummy, one that she leers at for longer than she should. The only distraction she gets is when Misty’s exhausted voice carries through the hallway. “Ya ready?” 

As ready as I'll ever be. She swallows the thickness in her throat, and nods.  

Swinging her heavy bag over her shoulder, Misty continues her scrutiny of the worry lines that sit atop Cordelia’s forehead. “Where did you wanna go?”  

“Um, I was thinking a walk. Maybe.” She looks down, wondering how on earth to make this seem like less a big deal as it is. Already, her erratic nature is beginning to spread to Misty; she spies how her fingers clutch onto the backpack strap for dear life. “There’s a new ice cream place.” 

Misty’s eyes light up.  

Well, at least if her heart gets broken, she’s going to get ice cream out of it. Not quite a deal breaker. But something, she guesses wryly.  

They begin a thoughtful saunter to the car, not much to say. Like they’re both building it up for the talk to come. But their peacefulness is disrupted in a rather jarring moment as she hears a particularly irritating voice. “What’s up, losers?” 

Misty is groaning before she can even turn to see Madison. When Cordelia follows suit, she is at least relieved to see Zoe and Mallory with her. They’ll succeed in watering down the coarse soul that Madison is. Maybe. She prays. “Hey guys.” A series of other greetings follows, and she opens her mouth to ask why they’re all still at school too, but Madison beats her with another question of her own.  

“And where are you two going?”  

Beside her, Misty stays quiet and puts her attention on placing her things into the footwell of the car. This way, it appears she can ignore all and any of Madison’s taunting.  

Unfortunately, it leaves Cordelia taking the full brunt of it. Her face pinches together in annoyance. “We’re just going for a walk.” She says, bristling in defence. But those words are a mistake, and she realizes that the second that pass through her lips.  

“A walk?” Madison smirks, eyes volleying from one to the other. “Where was our invitation?”  

Misty is moving to stand close to her side now, arms wrapped around her front as she sets a withering look on Madison. She seems to have some willpower over her clear irritation, seeing as she directs her next words at Cordelia softly. “C’mon, let’s go.”  

It’s a clear sign that her presence isn’t needed or desired. As always, that only seems to tempt Madison further. “I’m being serious.” She laughs, eyes sparkling with something wicked that makes Cordelia narrow her own at her. “It’s the perfect day for a walk, don’t you think girls?” 

When she flashes her gaze back at the others, they both teem with apologetic eyes. “We can go somewhere else. . .” Mallory begins, ever the mediator.  

“But we’re all friends, right?” A bright grin is flashed at the pair by the car who seem all too eager to climb inside. “You don’t mind if we join you, right? The more the merrier.”  

Cordelia hesitates, skin prickling with unease from both the conversation and the late afternoon sun. “Um. . .” 

“It’s not like it’s a date we’re interrupting, jeez.”  

The word date is enough to send her mind into a spiral, to have the other shifting awkwardly on the spot because of how many times she’s reprimanded them for jokes like that. Very rarely do they happen in front of Misty anymore, but when they do it’s usually Madison, and it’s always enough to send a cold shiver through her heart.  

She peeks an eye in Misty’s direction, where the girl simply glares at her frenemy as though she’s willing her to suddenly combust. It would certainly solve one problem. But she guesses they wouldn’t be so lucky.  

Madison knows what effect she’s having; she seems to thrive on making the air around them thicken until neither can breathe. “It isn’t a date,” she sneers, “right?”  

“No.” Cordelia’s quick response has Zoe sending her pity eyes, so strong that she can’t bear to look at them. Instead, she lets eyes drift to where Misty is furiously shaking her head no. Between the two of them, they seem to be a picture of denial.  

“Great. Let’s go then.” 

“Madison, we should let them – " 

A hand in Zoe’s face silences her, even if she smacks it out of the way.  

The brunette groans. “Why are you such a bitch?”  

“Oh, you love it.” She holds her handbag higher, beginning to strut forwards. Lips spread wider as she pushes past Misty. “I call shotgun.”  

She’s already reaching for Misty’s backpack to shove it out of the way, holding it like one would hold a dirty diaper. The Cajun lunges forward and snatches it from her manicured hands. “Hey, I was sittin’ there.” Accusation sits heavy with her accent, anger blazing in her pupils. She all but shoves Madison out of the way to stand protectively in front of the seat.  

This, of course, amuses the girl to no end.  

“Can’t you learn to share, swampy?” 

Cordelia watches how her expression hardens, the lines in her forehead like cracks in a statue. It’s a stand off, and neither want to lose apparently.  

She finds herself uncharacteristically impatient, her usually long fuse cut short. “Do I need to slap you again?” she says, only joking the slightest bit.  

“You’re awfully violent at the minute, Cordy.” Even so, Madison moves from where she is sneering at the Cajun to settle dark eyes on Cordelia. “I like this side of you.”  

Rolling her eyes, she holds in a second groan. “Just get in the damn car.” Any hopes of Madison relenting are now ebbing away, and she lets the unwilling idea settle around her like a bad smell. She looks to the others, too, because there is no way she is letting it be just her, Misty and Madison. One of them would definitely not survive the ordeal, and her money is on the conniving one of the group.  

But there are no casualties, at least not as the five of them eventually walk along the river line after their trip to the ice cream parlour. All too keen to keep away from Madison, Misty hangs back with Mallory. Cordelia tries her best to keep casting glances in her direction, annoyed and anxious, and wondering when on earth they’re supposed to have their serious discussion when their friends are blocking it from happening.  

She sets an icy look on Madison, one that doesn’t even waver under the hot sun.  

The girl is oblivious, sniggering at her own story of giving blowjobs to a college student who’s in line to play for the  New Orleans Saints.  Boasting is in her nature, and at one point Cordelia turns to Zoe with an eye roll. When her talking finally comes to an end, Madison sips on her cold bottle of water. “Well, this is boring.”  

Cordelia tilts her head. “What is?”  

“This.”  

“Walking?” she blinks.  

“Yup.” Her fingers twitch around the side of the sunglasses, readjusting them on her head. “Who the hell does this shit for fun?”  

“There is more to life than parties and blowjobs.” Cordelia scoffs. She peers around at the small part of the world they’ve found themselves in, where the river flows in a gentle lull to one side, a breeze spreading in the opposite direction. It sends ripples and curves along the shiny surface, the same surface that reflects the line of blossom trees by the sidewalk. For the first time in an hour, content eases around the edges of her soul.  

It’ll only fully permeate her aura once she’s back with Misty, she thinks – alone.  

Zoe pipes up from her other side. “I like it out here. Me and Charlie used to come here.”  

“Oh god.” Madison pulls the smile from Zoe’s lips with her harsh tone. “Here you go with the ex – boyfriend shit again.”  

“I’m allowed to bring him up.”  

She finishes her drink, about to throw the bottle to the ground before Cordelia intercepts her with a rather hard stink eye. After that, she holds onto it until they near a trash can. “Well, that stuff’s depressing. Can’t you talk about something more interesting?” 

“Like what?”  

That wickedness floods across her angled features again. “Like why Cordy and Misty wanted to go for a walk really?” That grin returns, wry and knowing, and Cordelia wonders how the hell everyone seems to know her business before she even gets to it herself.  

She quickens her pace, as if hoping to run from the probing. “I can spend time with my best friend, can’t I?” 

“Wait.” Madison feigns offense with a soft gasp. “We’re not your best friends?!” 

Cordelia heaves in a sigh. “I’m beginning to wonder if even friends is a strong word for what we are, Madison.”  

She tuts. “Always so serious.” Now, she walks in closer, voice hushed like she’s only just realized she can have some form of tact. “So, seriously, spill.”  

Blinking, she suddenly finds the asphalt beneath her shoes mighty interesting. “Spill what?” 

“You are so lame.”  

It’s hardly difficult to deny, but she’s not going to give Madison the satisfaction of agreeing with her, so she offers an empty laugh. “And you are unbelievable.” 

Only serving as a compliment, Madison grins. There’s a long passing of silence, other than the hum of car engines and the murmurs of the two behind them. Further away now. When she dares to glance up and turn on her heel, she sees Misty has stopped Mallory to point out a frog by the river’s edge. Instantly, her face lights as she appraises her friend lovingly.  

Not a hint of subtleness about it, Madison chokes on her own laughter. It only halts when Zoe jabs an elbow into her side.  

There seems to be some form of deity above taking pity on her, sensing how her guts tangle and knot until she is physically wincing. Because Madison’s phone vibrates and takes her attention away altogether. Her and Zoe slow, half listening to her zealous conversation about plans to move to Hollywood straight after graduation.  

Zoe twists her head toward her. “Fifty dollars says she’s back home with her ego knocked in a month.” 

Her lips twist wryly. “I’ll take that bet.” She lets her eyes drift toward Madison; no matter what she thinks of the girl, there is a tenacity to her. “She’s too stubborn to come back. She’ll at least stay out there a couple of months.”  

“Guess only time will tell.” Zoe chuckles, then adds with a lasting breath. “I’m sorry that we butted in on your walk. You know what she gets like.”  

“It’s okay.”  

It’s not. It really, really isn’t. Just as she thinks she’d be mentally prepared to leap into the conversation with Misty, Madison has been a cog in an already malfunctioning machine.  

The brunette’s eyes wrinkle at the side, disbelieving. “So, it really just was a walk?”  

Yes.” She lies, exasperated. “Misty and I both like nature. Is it a surprise that we like to walk?” 

She remains quiet, a thoughtfulness dormant in her expression. To Cordelia’s relief, she doesn’t push the subject.  

And to her even bigger relief, Madison flounces back in their direction with her phone in one hand and a cigarette in another. “Come on, Benson. This blows. I have made us plans elsewhere that doesn’t include getting bitten to fuck by bugs.”  

Cordelia doesn’t bite back, simply because she is heaving in a sigh of relief at the idea of Madison leaving. With her, she takes Zoe and Mallory, who doesn’t seem too thrilled with the new plans, nor does she want to intrude on her and Misty. She watches the three of them turn the corner with a smile that grows when she sees a blue jay flitter across the skyline.  

It distracts her almost enough that she doesn’t notice Misty’s eyes on her for a second.  

When she does notice, said smile is irreplaceably bigger. “Hey stranger.” Misty drawls, grinning. In her hand, she holds a half empty slush, the outside of the cup littered with condensation. The same color of its contents sits on Misty’s lips, a deep blue that could rival the prettiness of her eyes.  

“Hey yourself.”  

Misty has another sip, revealing an equally blue tongue that draws Cordelia in with no resisting. “Thought they were never gonna leave.” She confesses. 

“Me too.” There’s a hint of chagrin in her tone, but all the tightness is beginning to relinquish its hold of her muscles. Especially when Misty makes to link arms with her. That brings with it a different kind of feeling, the familiar one of being winded by her simple touch.  

Leaning into her, Misty chooses the far easier decision of simpler conversation. “Did ya see the frogs?” She slows their pace, turning to point to a shrubby part not too far back. 

She shakes her head, moving to push back some loose strands behind her ear. Misty watches the migration of her fingers with sparkling eyes, and that’s enough to have her nerves tiptoeing over her heart muscle.  

“Oh.” She seems genuinely sad about that. “We can go back to ‘em if you want.” 

“It’s okay.” Steadying hands keep Misty from fully rotating, and their path remains forward. The Cajun turns to her, questioning, until she spies the grave way that Cordelia’s expression shifts, how a gulp sits half way down her throat. Her blue lips part ever so slightly.  

“You wanted to talk.” She remembers, as if Madison’s rude interruption had pushed that information from her brain. Either that, or she’s just as trepid as Cordelia and chooses not to think about the implications of a talk. Both know they are rarely good. Almost never.  

Cordelia’s voice is quiet. “Yeah. If you’re still up for it.” 

The way her eyes dip lower give her sudden hesitation away. “Hmmm.”  

“That doesn’t sound very convincing.” She jokes, strained and a pink creeping across her neck. There are too many temptations right now. Ones that beg her to call the thing off, insisting that it’s easier just to cover up her new knowledge, that only bad things are going to come from this. But she swallows those bitter thoughts and lets them die in her stomach. They quieten against the racing of her blood through frayed nerves.  

“Just, you make me nervous when ya get like this.”  

She pales. “Like what?”  

Misty is smiling, though there is nothing joyful about the action. It’s almost like it’s a reflex intended to put Cordelia at ease, though it only succeeds in the opposite. “You know. All quiet and overthinkin’.” 

“How can you tell that?” she ponders quietly, furrowing her forehead downwards.  

As if that’s evidence, Misty points to it. “’Cause you do that. Get all these wrinkles on your head.” 

Blanching, she forces herself to smooth out the skin and runs fingers over it just to be sure. “Are you saying I look old?” 

“No.” She giggles. “You just have this expression. An’ your eyes go unfocused. You can practically see the thoughts moving across your face.”  

Cordelia flushes under the attention, letting Misty lead her in a slow meander down the street with the river trickling beside them. “I didn’t think you noticed stuff like that.” the idea of Misty successfully recognizing her quirks and precursors brings with it a heat of love, and a swill of hope. Soon, she wonders if that hope might be the death of her. 

Eyes crinkling with a smile, Misty nods. “I told you, you are like an open book.” 

Not open enough.   

For Misty seems to let the most obvious of her feelings fly right over her head. Maybe in ignorance, or perhaps intentionally. Her heart clutches when she considers the latter.  

But this walk isn’t about her; it is yet to be focused on the Cajun herself. And Cordelia’s suspicions that are beginning to stifle every cell in her lungs. “Yeah, I must be.” A wistful sigh falls from that tight chest. “Sorry.”  

“For what?” 

She gulps. “For making you nervous.”  

Misty stills, the color draining from her own features and making the artificial blue stain all more evident on her lips. She takes wide eyes from Cordelia to peer across at the river. ”’S okay.” If anything, this seems to put them both in a weird state, auras pulsing with energy that neither have the desire to comment on.  

Observing Misty again, she inwardly curses at her own lack of nerve. This whole thing was her idea and it isn’t exactly fair to work up Misty’s expectations with nothing to show for it. She sucks in a breath, tightening her hold on the Cajun. It gives her a semblance of strength, even if it is temporary in nature. “So. . .” she begins.  

How the hell do I start this? Teeth grind together in contemplation, jaw beginning to cramp after a few seconds.  

Blue eyes find herself again, more beautiful than every ounce of nature around them. “So.” Misty echoes. Succinct, impatient; it most certainly begs Cordelia to just get on with it and stop holding her emotions at ransom.  

They slow over an ornate bridge, where she moves to clutch the stone wall. Maybe it’ll ground her to reality. Maybe it won’t run away when she finally spits out her newest revelation. Twisting, she lets it dig into her back and peers over at Misty, bathed in a halo of natural light that shimmers across her porcelain skin.  

Misty’s lips twitch. “Are we gonna talk then?” Her voice adopts a low hum that reverberates in her very core.  

It gives her no choice. She's got to do this. Face the consequences. Even if they damn well scare the shit out of her. Cordelia reaches out her spare hand and makes contact with Misty’s forearm, brushing tips across the skin. Peering down, Misty watches with hooded eyes. Concern etches across the corners of her face, hides in the way that her fingers make to curl out Cordelia’s outstretched hand.  

“Before I do,” she says, offering a shuddery breath. “You have to promise me something.”  

There’s a bit of a side eye there. She’s not quite sure where Cordelia is going, and in all honestly, neither is the older blonde. “I guess.”  

Her hand tightens around that silky skin. “No matter what I say, I want you to be calm, okay?”  

She watches the way Misty shifts her weight from one foot to the other, the other set of fingers making to run anxiously through her hair in a calming swoop. Only, her hair is still up in a braid and she’s stumped by that, letting it fall down awkwardly to her side. “What’s wrong, Cordelia?” She seems to have jumped to the worst conclusion, unsurprisingly.  Cordelia is hardly an image of calm herself.  

“Nothing.”  

“Then just say it.” She demands, adding. “Please.”  

“I. . .um -” 

Cordelia.”  

It’s whispered out, yet it may as well be a boom of volume for all the effect it has. Their eyes lock; in her peripherals, she can see how Misty’s breathing grows heavier. But Misty’s gaze beckons her as always, it begs for more, for the truth. Because that’s what they’ve promised to each other. Does Misty know how much she’s been lying to her since then?  

No, not lying. Just simply withholding her onslaught of feelings. And confessions, and just everything.  

She tries not to let guilt swamp her, the notion that she’s a bad friend for keeping these things from her. The truth is that she did it for the benefit of their friendship. To clutch onto it with as much strength as she’s got for fear that honesty will rock it to its very core.  

Yet there’s no hiding now.  

Not with the way Misty is looking to her, enrapt and anticipating, and so stunningly gorgeous that she fights against nausea. “I . . .” Words begin an ascent up her throat; it may be rocky and slow, but it’s progress. She encourages them as much she can. “I. . .” 

This is it. The dreaded moment, one that’s kept her from peaceful slumber for days, one that she urges to be over just as quickly as it’s arrived. She licks at dry lips, the lingering taste of her strawberry ice cream on them. In front of her, the Cajun waits with the gaze of innocence, of someone who doesn’t know her world is about to be flipped upside down.  

That guilt pangs inside of her once more, harder this time.  

“I -” Her third attempt to start the sentence has more resolve, the decision shadowing over her because she knows there’s no going back from this.  

She's only distracted  by movement below, just under the bridge, followed by hurried moans and a scramble of limbs. Cordelia blinks, torn from the heady air that fills the space where her brain should be. “Is that Hank?” she splutters out.  

Having twisted on the spot, she leans over the wall of the bridge and confirms that it is her ex-boyfriend, lips attached to some sleeze as they make out with such fervor that she can’t take her eyes away for a few seconds. She wills herself to look away, waiting for that emptiness to grow in her stomach. Maybe even jealously. Neither come, and it leaves her more bewildered.  

Misty closes the gap with one long stride, taking a leisurely glance before her nose crinkles up with disgust. “Gross.” She mutters.  

“Yeah.”  

Cordelia isn’t sure why her voice is so airy, lost amongst the other sounds that the world offers, but Misty appears to read it as something else. Her gaze narrows down at Hank, definitely pissed, then back to Cordelia, all questioning in those eyes gone. They shimmer in ire now, in an awe-striking way. So absorbed in them, she barely notices when Misty reaches to yank the lid off of her drink, now mostly melted from their walk.  

As she does blink back into reality, she frowns. “What are you doing?”  

There is no answer, at least not one with words. Misty tilts as far as she can go, holding herself upright with one taut arm and then tipping the contents of the plastic cup downwards.  

Eyes flashing wide with panic, she calls out her name. “Misty!”  

Too late. Two screams follow, one shrill and the other befuddled. “What the fuck?” Hank’s rage is unmissable, bellowed out in their direction and echoed by the hollows of the bridge. “Are you fucking kidding me?”  

She dares a glance, just one, moving a hand to prevent laughter on her lips at the sight of him drenched in the blue slush. Enough time for him to notice the movement, and step back to pursue the source of the slush.  

Cordelia jumps back in an attempt to skew his vision, to hide her face, before she feels a hand in hers and a voice dangerously close to her ear. “Run.”  

The command is easily followed. With a barely contains squeal, she sets off into a sprint alongside Misty.  This makes her blood surge around her body in a different way than a few minutes ago; there is giddiness and exhilaration, and she finds laughter bubbling over her lips without even needing to think about it. 

Beside her, Misty is laughing too. Deep and breathless, as she practically pulls Cordelia's pliant body along the sidewalk.  

The pair aren’t exactly subtle, on the cusp of cackling by the time they eventually do slow. Cordelia can feel her frazzled hair, her hot cheeks that Misty peers at through thick eyelashes and causes her to grow even more crimson. It's a reminder of the intended reason for the walk, but the brief pause in the seriousness leaves her muscles light. Even if her calves ache from the sudden sprint.  

For Misty, it has clearly been little exertion. Though short, shallow breaths come from her. She throws an obvious glance over her shoulder just to ensure they aren’t being pursued.  

Cordelia links their arms again, hanging languidly against Misty with a wide beam. “I can’t believe you just did that.” She exclaims.  

There's a twist of lips, proud and stubborn. “He totally deserved it and you know it.” 

“He cheated on me months ago.” She's still grinning, watching her friend with interest. 

“Still deserved it.” Misty shrugs, all nonchalant. “He’s a dick.” 

She hums her agreement, even if she still fights to get her lungs back into a calm rhythm. Her fingers clasp higher around Misty’s arm, and when she looks down their legs are some how in synch with their movement. Such a simple realization has her grin growing stupidly wide. “Can you imagine if I was still dating him?” She ponders aloud, insides tightening at the very idea. Regret very much tinges all of her memories when she thinks of him; why she ever dated that idiot is beyond her. 

So close, she can feel how Misty winces. “I'd rather not.” She grumbles, voice barely audible when it’s followed with a huff. If Cordelia is really trying to delude herself, she’d consider her sudden change of attitude a hint of jealousy.  

She finds herself apologizing again, soft like the evening’s breeze.  

“So what were ya sayin’,” Misty begins timidly, “before that asshole appeared?” 

The smile slips from her face, followed by the clearing of her throat. It's suddenly as though she has memory loss, because all the openings to this conversation she's rehearsed fly from her brain. Frustration sits tight on her lungs, lips pursing into a straight line that gives no offering of happiness. There she goes, putting Misty on edge again just by panicking for no reason.  

And she goes to do it, to take the bullet. To start with the simple words “I know, Misty,” but something gets lost in translation. A copying error in her brain. 

What instead comes out is another thing that's making her fret ever so intently. “I got my letter from USC.”  

“Oh.” Misty frowns in confusion, though it fights to curve upwards. Her brows dip down together as she regards her friend. “That is what you wanted to talk about?”  

No

She nods.  

Her inner thoughts make quick work of berating her cowardice, forcing her shoulders to slump and heart to ache. Misty pulls in a breath and smiles, dare she say, relieved. “You opened it?” 

“We said we were going to wait for each other.” Cordelia reminds her gently, staring to the ground as they walk. Still in synch. When she glances back up, Misty is admiring the varying shapes of clouds that grace the sky.  

The Cajun is nodding. “I know. I got mine. Was beginnin’ to think yours was never gonna arrive.” A teasing sits in her dipped brow. “Like you'd forgotten to apply.” She laughs at the way Cordelia’s expression shifts in shock at the accusation.  

“I most certainly did not.”  

“I know.” She grins. “It’s just taken forever.” The implication has her swallowing slowly, with thought. “Do ya think that’s a good sign?” 

Cordelia shrugs, not wanting to give it another shred of thought. She's already beating herself up for backing out of one thing – the last thing she needs is another reason to fuel her self loathing.  

“Should we open ‘em then?” 

Their eyes meet, both a swirling mix of terrified. 

She squeezes Misty’s upper arm, forcing a strained smile onto her lips. “Yeah. We should. Is yours at home?” When her friend nods, she sighs. “Well, let's go pick it up.” 

“Can we go to the cabin?” Misty ponders, an air of timid about her.  

Cordelia pauses, more out of interest than anything else. 

It urges to Cajun to continue. “Just makes me calm, is all. Plus I don’t wanna open the letter in your car.” Her smile adopts a humorful nature. “I might cry, and I don’t wanna do it there.” 

“Please don’t cry.” She chuckles, moving to wrap an arm around Misty’s shoulder. In a comforting way, she insists to herself. Nothing to do with how Misty leans in until their heads touch for just a few moments. I should have told her. She thinks ruefully. There's still time. This isn’t a once in a lifetime opportunity, even if it damn well feels like it.  

She shifts, moving away from Cordelia slowly. “Can’t make no promises. It’s kinda scary.” Eyes narrow sceptically. “Gee, you seemed so scared about this whole talk I thought you were gonna tell me you're dyin’ or somethin’.” 

Cordelia can’t bring it in herself to look at Misty, so she doesn’t, and follows with a half hearted, “yeah.” 

All she can think is that she’s still lying to Misty, still denying them both things that she's only ever dreamed of.  

The real fear is that she's never going to be able to stop lying.  

… 

“You go first.” 

“No, you go." 

Misty shakes her head, eyes brimming with unease. “You.” 

They're both sat on the floor of the cabin, but she can’t find herself caring about the uncomfortable wood underneath as she's kinda preoccupied with freaking the fuck out. Misty seems to be going through the same trouble, her legs shaking even as they're crossed. 

Across from her, Misty worries her lower lip between white teeth. “I didn’t think it was gonna be this hard. 

“Me either.” Their eyes meet, and for once she lets her honesty creep in. “I’m really scared, Misty.” 

The Cajun softens at that, smiling sympathetically and reaching out to take hold of her hand with her own cold one. She doesn’t say anything, but that is enough. 

Cordelia continues with a groan after a few more moments of them staring at the envelopes and refusing to open them. “God, why is this so hard?” 

She already knows the answer to that, of course, though maybe it'd sink in better if she heard it out loud. Misty doesn’t give her that option, but she does push herself onto her taut legs and make for the drawers in the corner of the room. After some rummaging and muttering to herself, she returns with a bottle in hand. Its amber contents swish invitingly, and it clatters against the floor as Misty lowers herself down again. 

Laughing nervously, Cordelia can’t seem to look anywhere but at the Cajun. “What is that?” 

“Just drink it.” She says. “Nothin' like a bit of liquid courage.” 

She balks, all kinds of surprised. “Where did you even get that?” 

Misty is making easy work of unscrewing the cap and downing a large sip of whatever liquor she's come into ownership of. Around the bottle neck, those blue stained lips smirk. “I have my ways.” 

When she looks to her friend now, there is a certain awe warming her gaze.   

The bottle is offered out, but she hesitates, fingers lingering half way. “I – I have to drive back.” She reasons, even if she really wants to. Even if her mind is desperately trying to remind her of what happened the last time she inebriated around Misty.  

Misty smoulders in her direction, sending a jab right to her core. No one ever looks at her like this other than Misty, like it's a special expression reserved for the older blonde. She returns it with her own darkening gaze, eyes growing blacker at Misty’s response. “Stay here.” 

She glances around the room, licking at anxious lips. “I don’t want to impose.” 

Misty laughs delicately. “You ain’t.” 

“But we have school tomorrow." 

Her head leans to one side. “And?” 

“Well, I need to shower, and change my clothes and - " 

“Please stay, Cordelia.” 

Her breath hitches at the quiet demand, at how Misty's half open eyes are staying her way in longing, and how her lips are still stained blue from her slush. Cordelia’s love makes itself known again, strong and unapologetic, and sitting right on the edge of her tongue. 

It comes through fondly in her reply. “Okay.” 

In less than a second, Misty slips back into smiling again, taking another swig of the drink. She slowly lowers the bottle to her side, holding it against her bare leg.  

Cordelia watches her again, staring straight past the doom inducing letters to think about another dread inducing thought. Too many voices stir in her head, all of contradicting ideas, and she doesn’t know who to listen to. When they begin to make her forehead throb, she lifts a hand and gestures to the bottle. Misty hands it over with a half smirk and twinkling eyes. As expected, the undiluted alcohol is a shock to her system, leaving a burn in its train. She takes another gulp, hoping the ease her initial reaction. 

Blinking over at her friend, she finds she has reached forward and fingers curl around her UCLA letter. Her uneven breaths fill the room. There is no music now, no other sounds. Just them, and the dancing heartbeats that await the news.  

“Let's do this.” She says, savoring every last drop of courage that appears to hijack her words. Cordelia isn’t quite sure where it originates, but she's ever so grateful for it when Misty smiles at her. 

Then, she pauses, and her lips (so blue and so inviting) part into a tiny circle. She stands again, reaching for Cordelia’s bag, which only serves to confuse the older blonde. 

Said confusion floats away as she spots her glasses in Misty’s hands. Right. She always forgets to put those on. Cordelia reaches out for them, only for hands to be smacked away by ringed fingers.  

Misty sits before her on her knees, a picture of concentration as she leans forward and carefully places the glasses on her face  for  her. She sits ever so still, scared that movement will halt the moment. Even when she's succeeded in her task, her hands linger just over Cordelia’s ears and play with loose hair. She can barely feel the sensation, because she’s too busy staring into Misty’s eyes. Merely inches away from her, that gaze sits like an open door and seemingly begs her to enter. Her own eyes widen, now focused with glasses on, and she winces at the sheer emotion that Misty always manages to evoke. How it sucks her in like a vacuum, stifling and freeing at the same time. 

“T – thanks.” She whispers.  

Misty leans back, just a little, and draws back her hands with her. “You gotta be able to read if you get in or not.” She says, voice shallow with fear at the reminder that they still have letters to open.  

She reaches for her own, and Cordelia follows in suit. 

Another shared look, both in the same boat. It seems the road to adulthood is as daunting for everyone as it is for her. She reaches for the alcohol again, and melts under Misty’s smirk. 

After a beat of sense silence, the Cajun all but growls. “God, I can’t take it anymore.” And with that, she begins ripping the envelope open.  

Cordelia grounds herself with slow, timed breaths. She wills the floor to stay still, for the world to maintain its calm, and she does the same. Her approach is more delicate, following the lines of the envelope and carefully unfolding them. The letter slips out with her hands, the college crest staring back at her and stealing her last few remaining ounces of air.  

Well, it's now or never. 

Unfolding the paper, she holds it out slowly and successfully reads the first three words.  

Dear Miss Goode.  

She wants to stop, to give herself a moment's reprieve, but it’s like she's strapped to a rollercoaster. And no matter how much she fights the bounds, it is going to keep moving. Just as her eyes do over the crisp, white paper.  

She just hopes she isn’t going to throw up, caught that nausea is pretty stubbornly fighting right now. 

But it begins to subside, paled in comparison to her other emotions. Always so strong in their introduction. So insistent on making her feel all she can. She holds her breath as she continues, her chest feeling tighter with every passing second. But it is without reason. I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted for study the University of Southern California. . .  

She blinks, then rereads the sentence with a budding excitement on her chest.  

The words remain the same, not some cruel joke from her mind. Elation makes quick work of usurping all her anxiety, and she’s sure that she makes an excited squeal, but she doesn’t care. Not one bit. Because she’s done it. All of her studying and hard work have paid off and she’s fucking done it! 

She lifts her gaze, poised to speak with the news when she spots tears in Misty’s eyes and the color draining from her face. 

No

Her heart sinks, hitting her stomach in a painful manner. 

No, no, no. Misty's lower lip wobbles. Fuck

Just as hope has begun to create a blissful image of what her life could be, reality is always there to knock her back a peg or two. She lowers her own letter to the floor, crawling over the squeaky boards the short distance to Misty where a hand is placed on her shoulder. “Hey, it's okay.” She starts, tender and comforting, despite the shattering of her own heart. “It’s fine. It doesn’t matter.” 

Misty blinks against the tears, and lifts azure eyes to meet her own pitying ones. 

It's like a punch to the gut, guilt laden and despair filled.  

She can’t stop herself. Arms instantly reach for Misty and pull her unresisting figure into her embrace. Tight. Loving. “I'm sorry.” She murmurs. She knows how much this meant to Misty. The girl might pretend she doesn’t care sometimes, but sometimes Cordelia thinks she cares more than anyone else she knows. She fears this may be another blow in her already difficult life.  

Misty sits frozen in her arms. 

It only makes for her to envelope her that little bit stronger. 

There is a length of time of just that, where the lack of the usual music suddenly seems deafening and the walls of the cabin are smaller than ever. 

Only Misty’s disbelieving whisper breaks the silence. “I got in.” 

From where she has burrowed her face into Misty's hair, she frowns and draws back in a tiny movement. 

“What?” 

Her eyes are lost, dizzy, but she blinks and locks them into Cordelia's where they sit merely inches from another. 

“I got accepted.” She repeats, leaving her lips parted, brows knotting together like she isn’t quite sure.  

Cordelia isn’t aware of her own movements, but she can see how her hands move to hold either side of Misty’s face. She memorises her expression, so beautiful in her incredulity. “You did?” Somehow, she sounds even more excited for Misty than she did for herself, and maybe she is. Pride floods her features, keeping Misty watching her with those watery eyes.  

“Yeah.” She breaths, accent thick and tempting. 

As she continues to stare, watching the migration of the corner of Misty’s blue lips into the most serene smiles, she wholeheartedly thinks that this might be the best day of her life. That things are finally starting to come together for pair.  

“We're both going to LA.” She announces giddily, still holding onto Misty’s face. She considers never letting go. “Oh Misty, this is amazing!” 

Misty brings her hands up, one curling around Cordelia's and the other sitting just atop her thin wrist. “It's somethin’, huh?” 

“Do you know what this means?” The words are flowing from her with ease, aided by her grin and the warmth inside. For a few moments, she doesn’t think about the trials they’ve been through, or her pesky feelings, but only about the fact that her best friend isn’t going to be separated from her by another state. “We get to be together. We can even get an apartment together.”  

Misty is nodding, just as keen. Her wide eyes take in the full sight of Cordelia's enthusiasm with reverence. “Looks like we don’t have to decide who gets custody of the plants.” She chuckles, half smirking and sending shivers down the older blonde’s spine. 

She loses herself in the idea of living with Misty, of being with the one person who she feels most comfortable with. Who she loves more than anyone else. 

Her eyes stay intent on Misty, and the Cajun's on her. They both still, so near. Trapped in their own bubble of celebration and appreciation, and love.  

Not just hers. 

She can see the shift in Misty's gaze, how it flickers downwards for just a second. Maybe she thinks Cordelia won’t notice, but she does. She's suddenly noticing lots of things she was blind to before. 

And in that moment, something changes in her. She isn’t sure if the euphoria is messing with her head, or if the alcohol Misty gave her was way stronger than she thought. 

But she tired of being a coward. 

On that decision, she takes an even bigger leap than opening her college letter. She closes the gap between their lips in one swift move, holding Misty steady with fingers just under her chin. Her heart swoons at the connection, rattling in its confines.  

Misty’s lips are like soft clouds against hers, bitter from alcohol, but somehow sweet, and she tastes like blue. Like that tangy hit from her slush. An addictive flavor that keeps her firmly against those lips with eyes scrunched closed and a racing heart. Her fingers curl around her golden hair, pulling her nearer in her desperate need to deepen the kiss. She doesn’t let rational thought even cross her mind. She is enjoying this way too much; she wants it to last forever. 

And when those once frozen lips begins to push against hers in earnest, she sighs into them, and thinks maybe this could last forever.